Monday, December 26, 2005

Learned helplessness

There was a posting 'Perpetual' by Rakesh discussing about two articles published by New York Times and the Wall Street Journal that described how adolescence is increasingly being stretched into adulthood.

Link to posting 'Perpetual' by Rakesh Khurana


Few points to note from his posting talking about the articles mentioned:
1. A new generation of American parents are involving too much in the education of their children.
"A new generation of overinvolved parents [who] are flooding campus orientations, meddling in registration and interfering with students' dealings with professors, administrators and roommates".

2. Many parents are considering thier children's education as an investment, and expect to be treated as customer by universities.
3. Youngsters are depending on their parents for everything and expect parents to solve their problems.
A bottle-fed upbringing has created a dependent generation that expects their parents to solve all their problems. The children, in other words, have been socialized into stunted adulthood. Psychologists call this dependency phenomenon "learned helplessness.

4. Parents started considering thier kids as extension of their own identities and their success/failure as their own.
this new group sees their children as extensions of their own identity. Their childrens success or failure is seen as a marker of their own success or failure

5. Kids are lifting things from their parents
The New York Times article focuses on kids "lifting" things from their parents. Apparently, there is a significant enough group of thirty-somethings who visit with their parents and raid their underwear drawers, if not the drawers themselves, to merit an article


While this story may speak only for a part of the generation in US, as argued by Rakesh, the story holds good in entirety to almost all parents in India. In India, almost all decisions are taken by parents. Starting from what to wear, What to study, where to study.... and everything about their future. Fortunately or Unfortunately, for most, Parents also decide who to marry.

While some may argue that it is good for whatever reasons they deem fit, it is definitely not good for their kids. Once these kids become parents, what can you expect out of these stunned adults who can not decide their own lives, to teach their children. There may be few exceptions, but they are really really exceptions.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

4 Indians among world's top 50 business gurus

Four Indians figure amongst the world's top 50 management gurus, according to The Thinkers 50 2005 .

1. C K Prahalad (rank: 3)
2. Ram Charan (rank:24) ( Read Man of Mystery by Fast Company]
3. Vijay Govindarajan (rank:30)
4. Rakesh Khurana (rank:33)

Link to The Suntop Media Thinkers 50

Sunday, December 18, 2005

India vs China

Forbes announced 'India's Richest 40', the second annual list of 40 richest Indians. The list is nicely represented by IT, the industry that created all the buzz about India than any other industry. The next sector that created more buzz is telecom and is aswell represented nicely in the list, though IT and Telecom are still behind the tycoons from Steel and Petrochemicals overall.
Link to Forbes Story

There is something more interesting information in the list. There is a comparision between China's top 40 list and India's top 40 list. India has 27 billionaires with a collective worth of $106 billion compared to 10 from china with a collective worth of $26 billion. And there is little more for Indians to party. The minimum networth of the people in the list is $590million in India where as China's minimum net worth stands at $321 million.

But there is some thing interesting mentioned at the botton of the comparision, which brings a starking difference to light between China and India in wealth creation and distribution. China is far ahead in GDP with a $7.3 trillion while India is still pegging at $3.3trillion. Though GDP is much higher, China has fewer Billionaires. It means China's wealth might have been distributed across more people while India's wealth is concentrated across a few. There is another good news for China. China is growing at 9.5% compared to India at 7.3%. For a moment I thought India is almost catching up with china in growth. But I realised it immediately, that India is not catching up the growth in volume but just the growth rate. And it makes a big difference.
Here is little math., assuming that both countries maintain the same rate of growth.

Year -India -China
2005 -3.3 -7.3 - India GDP is around 45% of China GDP. Difference in GDP: $4.0 Trillion
2006 -3.54 -7.99
2007 -3.79 -8.75
2008 -4.07 -9.58
2009 -4.37 -10.49
2010 -4.69 -11.49
2011 -5.03 -12.58
2012 -5.40 -13.77
2013 -5.79 -15.08
2014 -6.22 -16.52
2015 -6.67 -18.09 India GDP is 36% of China. Difference in GDP is $11.4 Trillion

Can India really catchup with China?
Slow and steady wins the race ....................................................
only when the faster opponent is sleeping!!!

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Humane Interfaces vs Minimal Interfaces

There is an interesting debate going on between proponents of Humane Interfaces and Minimal Interfaces. It looks like, Ruby camp is representing the Humane Interfaces while Java camp is representing the later. The debate started with a posting by Martin Fowler "HumaneInterface". And here is a summary of the debate., referred to as the Monkey knife fight.

I favor the Humane Interface camp. The interface should reflect all reasonably common scenarios it can be used. Not just the minimal building blocks. Let me explain by an example. Assume you have a Math class and a method add. As per mimimal interface camp, this is enough to carry out addition, subtraction and multiplication. It is true that you CAN do all those operations with add method. But not without user writing some code on top. Like if you want mulitplication, you would write a loop to add it as many times or some other smart logic. Imagine you have 1000 different users use your class. All 1000 users have to duplicate similar code in their product to do muliplication. All 1000 users have to test their code. All 1000 users have to maintain this code. But had this multiplication code be added to the class itself, the class would have been tested only once and need maintenance at one place. This would help developers focus more on the business logic, than writing utility functions all around. This might be translated in to hefty $$$ of savings for organizations too.

However, it is little hard to find out balance and identify only and all reasonably common scenarios and provide an interface equipped with all of them. But it pays off very soon, particularly if you are writing generic libraries, like the Java framework libraries. But there is a blessing in disguise in the minimal interfaces. Lot of work and more jobs for a whole lot of programmers.

30,000 Iraqi civilians killed. For what?

I can't comprehend the implications of removing Saddam and establishing Democracy in Iraq. But denying the chance to live to 30,000 innocent civilians, doesn't sound appropriate. I do not know whether the world or America is safer without Saddam. But America's safety certainly became a nightmare to Iraqi civilians. Why do 30,000 Iraqi people have to pay the price for the safety of America?

Bush replying to a question (why war on Iraq when there was no conclusive involvement of Iraq in 9/11 attacks), said
"knowing what I know today, I'd make the decision again. Removing Saddam Hussein makes this world a better place and America a safer country."

I really don't know if America is safer without Saddam. I seriously doubt that. As much as the America's success to catch the real men behind 9/11.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Kaizen is... Very Dangerous Stuff?

Tom Peters in his 'This I Believe' puts an intriguing and fascinating end to Kaizen (Continuous Improvement) belief in order to create some thing new... the next big thing.

Kaizen (Continuous Improvement) is...Very Dangerous Stuff.
Caught with our pants down by vigorous Japanese competitors, we Americans quickly copied their essential competitive ideas, such as Total Quality Management and Kaizen. Fair enough! Brilliant, in fact! Yet these important notions are in part cornerstones of an earlier, industrial age…when winning products stayed on the shelves in showroom floors for years, even decades. Now excellence has become transient (few teams win back-to-back championships in sports, the competition and rate of improvement have become so intense); and the fact is that the Pursuit of Perfection (at todayʼs “sport”) gets in the way of ferreting out the Next
Big Thing. My de facto mentors in all this are media guru Marshall McLuhan (“If it works, itʼs obsolete”) and IT guru Nicholas Negroponte (“Incrementalism is innovationʼs worst enemy”). Excellence has become transient… the Pursuit of Perfection (at today’s “sport”) gets in the way of ferreting out the Next Big Thing.

Sunday, December 4, 2005

Super Hero - Celebrating the Indian Developer rocks...

Microsoft Chairman and Chief Software Architect, Bill Gates, launches the next generation of integrated computing platform - Visual Studio 2005, SQL Server 2005, and BizTalk Server 2006 in India on December 9, 2005. Joining in the celebration is the Indian Rock band – Parikrama with a rock song just for our Indian developers. Called `Superhero' the song is about the life of a programmer. http://www.microsoft.com/india/ready2005/song/default.aspx

Miracles

"There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as if everything is." -- Albert Einstein
What do you appreciate and what do you ignore? Is a sunrise any less special because its image wouldn't make it on a magazine cover? Is any day less precious because, in your mind, "nothing special happened?" For some reason, it's hard to be impressed with anything these days. Driving a car is a source of strain instead of wonder. The internet is already old news. Quick, when was the last time you paid attention to a space shuttle flight? Remember when that was all people could talk about? Once you take something for granted, you also take the life out of it. When nothing is "special", boredom and gloom aren't far behind. Look around where you're sitting right now, and try to see it for the first time, like a child would. Think about the human potential that created the stuff in the room. Think about the miracles of nature right outside your window.
Think about how amazing it is that you're even here to see it.

Start by ...

Start by doing what is NECESSARY, and then what is POSSIBLE.
Suddenly you are doing the IMPOSSIBLE - St. Francis

How does patent system work?

Here is a classic, "Create or Perish", by Dr. Robert Rines available at MIT open course ware explains how the patent system works. The patents surrounding telephone were used to illustrate various issues with the system.

Wrt to software products, whether you believe in the patent system or in open source, this is good read to understand how patents works.

Saturday, December 3, 2005

SUN's desperate attempts

Strategy is a long term plan that gives an edge. Suicide is a fool's strategy to get an edge over death.


SUN Microsystems announced in a Press Release recently that most of its Middleware and Development tools are now 'free' to use. Not long ago, SUN made its flagship OS, solaris unix free and open source.

Though the press release boasts of the move as
"landmark moves in the battle to create the software platform of choice for the next-generation of the Internet"
the desperation however shows up without notice. As per the recent reports, SUN has been failing for a long time to have sustainable revenue. SUN has been reported loosing its servers market to Linux. It created Java, but never made any considerable revenue on it. And adding to the insult last month 84% of Sun stockholders voted for the repeal of Posion Pill, and thus making it clear that it is desperate to survive at least by a take over.

Now sun made it flagship Solaris Unix open source and free. It made its middleware and development tools open source free. That means no body will pay for the OS or the tools. Organizations 'pay' a little to get the needed support. And sun is betting its survival on these subscriptions to survive. This strategy of giving the product free and living on support services is a suicide. They are good for most of the copy cat open source products. Not for most others. Particularly for organizations who spent billions of dollars in Research and development. No organization made sustainable revenue on those subscriptions. Its not like Printer business. Giving a printer free and living on the cartridges. It makes a real business sense to do so in the case of printers. But not in the case of OS and middleware. The cost of a cartridge and frequency of probable such cartridge purchases definitely outweight the cost of printer in a very very short time. Wireless companies throw out free cell phones to get a pipeline to extract monthly bills from customers. WIth their 2year contracts, they generate a lot more revenue than the cost of the cellphones they are giving away. If you haven't noticed, prices of cell phone rate plans and printer catridges have been increasing at a very fast pace. But the subscription costs of software takes decades to match the license fees of OS and middleware.

They why SUN is doing this? I am afraid, they seem to have no other choice. But this is like committing a suicide to avoid the death. I hope there will be some miracle that can save Sun.

NDTV.com : Fact or Allegation ? Just another twisted title for sensationalism

This is yet another example of NDTV.com’s sensationalism twisted titles. The title says, as if this was a fact, woman made to urinate in pub...