Sunday, June 28, 2009

Reading List : ‘Imagining India’ by Nandan Nilekani

Its pretty unusual for many otherwise very successful Indians to write books, about anything. Be it sharing what they have mastered or what they have thought about, leave alone preaching something. I was thrilled to see Kishore Biyani unveiling ‘It Happened in India’ a couple of years ago.  And I recently came to know about Nandan Nilekani touring in USA promoting his own book, ‘Imagining India’. It is another of those aha moment to cherish. 

I was surprised the book cover appears different for the version that will be sold in India vs. the one that will be sold in US.

image image

The website of the book, ImaginingIndia displays the cover page (left) with seemingly thoughtful Nilekani on the cover. Where as the one I saw on Amazon has cover page (right) displaying a busy train station.

Did Nilekani think, it would be embarrassing for foreigners if he had put his own face on the cover? Just like Infosys thought it would be embarrassing to foreign nationals to sing our National Anthem (and decided to play an instrumental version instead a couple of years ago).

Watch this video on TED appears to be a good summary of the book delivered by Nandan Nilekani himself.

When I watched this video on TED, I was far from impressed, by the content or the presentation itself. I was rather infuriated by Infosys leadership as a whole. I lived in Bangalore for about 5 years, working right next to Infosys campus. And have many friends have been working for Infosys. We as a group together never understood, why Indian media is so crazy about Infosys and Infosys alone. While I respect Infosys as a business and what they could achieve and for being a role model in some aspects, I hate it for its hypocrisy and lack of social responsibility (not charity).  I feel the contribution of Infosys to Indian economy and entrepreneurial ecosystem as a whole has been highly overrated. 

A few comments I left on the TED video page.

 

Nandan Nilekani just demonstrated once again that Talk is cheaper than deeds. Infosys leverages all incentives Indian government provided to build a great business, but consistently refused to build and contribute to the very infrastructure he mentioned in the talk. The only infrastructure it ever built was its own campuses.

While taking advantage of the very demographics and social fabric to create today’s Infosys, it want to move away from its social obligation and dreaming about labor reforms that will allow it to hire and fire at will.

Unfortunately media around the world gets carried away with the dazzling stories of Infosys, it never got a chance to feel the real nerve of India and true entrepreneurs that created and empowered the democratic India. Hope, the world will see India beyond this fog someday.

Mean time, many Indians and rest of the world alike take pride in hypocrisy and ‘honor’ that never belong so much to Infosys.

By all standards, its a pretty heavy book, 528 pages and digressing. So definitely takes a while to read it and understand what he has to say.

Tobacco Kills 400,000 Americans Each Year : How Come Govt. Sell Licenses To Kill Its Own People?

If Tobacco is the leading cause of preventable death in United States and 400,000 people die from it each year, why not ban it completely? It doesn’t make any sense. 

How come US Government (and governments across the world) sell licenses to kill 400,000 of its own country men and women each year?

 

You know, the legislation I'm signing today represents change that's been decades in the making. Since at least the middle of the last century, we've known about the harmful and often deadly effects of tobacco products. More than 400,000 Americans now die of tobacco-related illnesses each year, making it the leading cause of preventable death in the United States. More than 8 million Americans suffer from at least one serious illness caused by smoking. And these health problems cost us all more than $100 billion a year.

-- President Barack Obama (At the signing of Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, 22nd June 2009) ( Link )

Whose interest it is to continue to allow Tobacco industry to kill 400,000 Americans every year and harm 8 million more.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Upbeat : How Right Attitude Can Beat Tough Times, Anytime

As promised yesterday, I am presenting the interview with Rajesh Setty on  ‘Upbeat’, his recent book that inspires and helps to cultivate the right attitude to thrive in tough times like this recession. One of the interesting aspects of this book is the fact that the  book was originally written during the dot-com-bust with lessons learnt in building a business during that time and hence I consider it as a ‘proven’ strategy for thriving in tough times, any time. 

As I mentioned yesterday I was first introduced to Rajesh Setty and Life Beyond Code through a Manifesto, 25 Ways to Distinguish Yourself  published on ChangeThis about 4 years back and I have been a regular reader of Life Beyond Code blog since then.  I am always inspired by the passion he brings into every thing he does. Be it a blog, tweets, e-books or his squidoo lenses. 

Many of you know Rajesh as the man behind ‘(Life) Beyond Code’, but Rajesh is also involved in a few companies in some combination as a founder, operating executive, board member and/or an investor. Apart from that, he has written a few books and is working on a number of them. His first book was published at the age of thirteen. While he is not building companies or writing, he enjoys speaking at conferences and company events.

You can read his latest thoughts on his blog Life Beyond Code or on Twitter at UpbeatNow. If you are really curious to know the events that shaped his thinking, you can read his story so far here.

Thank you Rajesh for the opportunity and sharing your thoughts on a few questions I have about this new book. Now, here is the full interview.

Upbeat : Cultivating the right attitude to thrive in tough times

image image

1. We never run out of constraints and difficulties in life, irrespective of a good economy or a bad one. How different is a recession for that warrants a shift in one's attitude.

Rajesh: Murali, first of all thank you for the opportunity to discuss the concepts surrounding the book.

Recession is a situation created by events and circumstances typically outside of your (or any one person's) control. The impact of a recession is far reaching. The constraints that a recession produces are a bit different from the general constraints and tough times that one person experiences as part of life.

The way a person notices recession is that he or she will notice that "what was working before will stop working." The tools and techniques that worked during good times are "suddenly" incapable of producing results they were producing.
The immediate response is to "work hard" and "do whatever it takes" to make this work. Unfortunately, doing more of something that does not work will not help.

This is where a fundamental shift in attitude has to happen. You have to "invent" and "try" new things that will produce results. This means that you have to be willing to do things that nobody is doing. Remember, if you follow the crowd, it generally won't work as if it did work, it is working for the crowd too and recession would have been over.

To succeed in recession, you need an attitude of "reinvention" AND an attitude of "doing whatever it takes."  People typically focus on the second part and forget the first part.


2. Is there any specific circumstance or a friend that prompted or rather inspired you to bring out this book in the midst of recession?

Rajesh: Honestly, I did not write this book during this recession. I wrote it when I was building my company during the previous recession. It was tough for those of us who were involved in the business and this book is a collection of some of those lessons that I learned along the way.  However, by the time I finished writing the book, the recession was over so there was no point in publishing the book. However, as it always happens we were faced with another recession soon enough. So I went back and updated the materials and added some new content and polished it a bit and the book was ready.

To answer your question specifically, the book was based on what I learned as I was going through building a startup during recessionary times.

3. Many say, 'Experience is the best teacher'. How 'Upbeat' can help those of us who are already going through some of these 'tough life' experiences?

Rajesh: I think that statement can be extended a little bit. I would say, "Experience is a great teacher if you know how to learn from it." Think about it - most people go through tough times throughout their life but only a handful of them will notice and observe the lessons that these experiences bring forth.
Brilliance comes from seeing the same things that everyone else is seeing but "interpreting" them more powerfully than majority of others.

Now, how does Upbeat help in this?

Thanks for asking the question. Upbeat is a tiny little book that has a few simple messages. I won't cover all of them here but here are some of them:

  • Watch your conversations and see if they are empowering you or putting you down. Choose the ones that are empowering you as that's what will give you more capacity to get more out of your life.
  • Think about what you can "give" to your network rather than what you can "get" out of them.
  • Sitting on the sidelines is easy but won't help.

Taking one or more messages like the ones and integrating it into your life (meaning you should do this unconsciously rather than making an effort) will make a lasting difference.

4. There are 100s of books  out there that explicitly address these 'tough times' leaving aside books that inspire readers at any time. How is 'Upbeat' different from the rest (or complement them).

Rajesh: I don't try to compete with anyone else but simply want to get my message out. I read one or two books a week so I enjoy what many wonderful people have to say.

My goal with this book was (and is) simple - share some of insights and lessons learned in a short format that someone will actually read them and try to implement one or two things that will make a quick difference. If they see the results, my hope is that they will come back and read once again and probably implement a couple of other things.

5. You always share your thoughts and experiences very generously and succinctly on the blog, through e-books or through published books( I haven't got an opportunity to attend any of your Speaking events).  What motivates you to wake up every day and keep on sharing.

Rajesh: That's  a great question. If there is one keyword in my life - it is "leverage." I am constantly looking for higher leverage in my life and constantly looking for ways for other people to have higher leverage.

As I keep learning new ways of increasing my leverage, I want to share it with people who want to listen and increase their own leverage. If I can do something that will increase the capacity of a few more people in the world to make this world a better place, that would give me the greatest satisfaction.

--

Thank you Rajesh once again. You can read his latest thoughts on his blog Life Beyond Code or on Twitter at UpbeatNow. If you are really curious to know the events that shaped his thinking, you can read his story so far here.

I will share my own review of the book in a couple days.  Stay in touch.

You Are One In A Billion, Believe It ! Or Not !

 

There are about 6.7 Billion people in this world that we know of.  Whether you believe in ‘Creation’ or ‘Evolution’, this human race started with a tiny number. It is quite amazing to see how fast it multiplies. What is more amazing is that every single individual in that 6 billion crowd is born ‘unique’.  Quite literally, you are born to be one in a billion, whether you believe it or not. “

This was the Introduction to my latest and last speech in Toast Masters club. I presented this speech, ‘One in a Billion’ as part of International Speech contest in my club.

My main argument in that speech was that barring physical traits, many of us appear to prefer being ‘common’ and ‘acceptable’ rather than ‘distinguished’ and ‘exceptional’.

When it comes to Software Development, the problem of becoming a commodity is much more pronounced now. Even though, an exceptional software developer is 10 times more productive and effective than an average one, the benchmark has started ignoring this qualitative aspect in preference for the hourly rate at bargain price at the cheapest corner of the earth.

Having said that, it is now much easier to introduce a book that is written to help IT consultants and Professionals distinguish themselves in the crowd. Its titled “Beyond Code” written by Rajesh Setty about 4 years ago and is lot more important now than 4 years ago. 

25 Ways to Distinguish Yourself

In fact I was first introduced to Rajesh Setty, through this e-Book “25 Ways to Distinguish Yourself”, probably this can be considered as a summary and an extension at the same time online (to the book) on his blog. There are now about 202 ways to distinguish yourself.

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I was so impressed by his ideas and outlook, I bought the book and subscribed to his blog.  I have been regularly reading his blog and various e-books he published since then.  While I did not agree everything with Rajesh, I was quite impressed by the passion and the way he grew professionally in the last 4 years. Rajesh since then released many e-Books and shared ideas on his blog, lenses on squidoo and now sharing on Twitter.

Upbeat

When Rajesh released his new book ‘Upbeat’ recently and planning to do a Virtual Blog Tour to promote the book, I signed up to participate in the tour. As part of the tour, I will be publishing an interview with Rajesh tomorrow.

I am very excited about this. This will be my first interview of any kind and I am going to publish tomorrow on this blog.  I will later follow up with my first Book review of ‘Upbeat’. 

Stay in touch. Stay subscribed.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

How NOT to ASK For Feedback : Case Of A Honda Dealer

I gave my Honda vehicle for a service at a Dealer this weekend. Everything went well. And then I got an email little later asking for feedback on how did the service went and whether I was satisfied with the service.  Here is the text of the Email. The third paragraph was bold text in the email itself. I only replaced the Dealer name and contact details of the Service manager with xxx.

 

Thank you for choosing XXX  for your recent service needs. It is important to me that you were completely satisfied with your service or repairs.

Only you can tell us if we have met or exceeded your expectations. We would appreciate receiving your impressions of this visit. Please take the time to answer the questions and click submit to send your answers back to me. If you prefer a more personal approach, you may call me directly at xxx-xxx-xxxx. Your comments will make a difference, so do not hesitate to make your views known.

You may be receiving a survey directly from the manufacturer as well. Please answer this survey as it is our report card and enables us to serve you better. Please note, if survey answers are anything less than "Excellent", it is a failing grade for our service department. If for any reason you cannot answer "Excellent", please contact me directly by phone at xxx-xxx-xxxx or by email xxx@yyy.com

Once again, thank you for servicing your vehicle at XXX. I look forward to seeing you when you come in for your next service.

The Service Manager do not want anything but Excellent to be reported on that web survey. What is the point asking for feedback, when you are not ready to take the feedback. What is the point if your customers are allowed to say only Excellent on the feedback, why waste the Customer’s time. 

This is a perfect example of how NOT to ask for feedback. The feedback system already lost any credibility in the eyes of the customer. Why take the trouble and give feedback if you know there is no value.

I took a few minutes to publish this post, but I will never spare a minute to respond to that kind of a survey. 

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Can Praja Rajyam Party Survive, As Mitra Resigns!

“There is no Praja Rajyam party without Mitra”, said Chiranjeevi few days before the election and amidst resignations by senior leaders. Now, Mitra resigned from the party too, citing that he could not adjust in the party. Not sure whether he could not adjust with policies, values or people within the party. He gracefully and respectfully did not point fingers at anybody and refused to talk any internal matters outside. I respect that.  Internal matters are internal matters.

imageSo, now the most important question is, can Praja Rajyam survive?

With Mitra’s resignation,  all founding members of the Party have walked away from the party, except Chiranjeevi himself.

I am not sure who else is left in the party. But it appears, the honeymoon is now officially over. The belief of ‘public’ affection and ‘call for service by people’ has been proven to be a mirage. Now, support from think tanks appears to be waning as well.

Can he resurrect, just like he does in his silver screen fantasies? Or, can he gather his strength to accept the reality and settle for nothing. In the midst of insurmountable obstacles, it is time to reveal the heroic character, if he has one. And he is one, in real life.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Looking At Our ‘Home’ Like Never Before

 

In 200,000 years on Earth, humanity has upset the balance of the planet, established by nearly four billion years of evolution. The price to pay is high, but it is too late to be a pessimist: humanity has barely ten years to reverse the trend, become aware of the full extent of its spoliation of the Earth's riches and change its patterns of consumption.

HOME is an ode to the planet's beauty and its delicate harmony. Through the landscapes of 54 countries captured from above, Yann Arthus-Bertrand takes us on an unique journey all around the planet, to contemplate it and to understand it. But HOME is more than a documentary with a message, it is a magnificent movie in its own right. Every breathtaking shot shows the Earth - our Earth - as we have never seen it before. Every image shows the Earth's treasures we are destroying and all the wonders we can still preserve. "From the sky, there's less need for explanations". Our vision becomes more immediate, intuitive and emotional. HOME has an impact on anyone who sees it. It awakens in us the awareness that is needed to change the way we see the world. (HOME embraces the major ecological issues that confront us and shows how everything on our planet is interconnected.)

 

An amazing master piece of art in itself, presenting the Home like never before. As if all Masters of Presentation the world has ever known put together a story of our home, Earth.

Incredible breathtaking footage.

I have never seen anything like this.  Its like taking an aerial tour of entire world. I can’t describe. Please, Just Watch !

Also, Please Visit www.GoodPlanet.org.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Code Lifting : China’s Web Filter is US’s CyberSitter

Remember Cisco’s code appearing in Huawei’s software without any modifications?

As per a WSJ report the famous Chinese Web Filter program appears to have been lifted off from CyberSitter, an application developed by Solid Oak Software in California.

The Chinese application contains

  • Old new bulletin promoting CyberSitter
  • list of terms to be blocked
  • CyberSitter serial numbers and
  • an update that makes the software compatible with older version of CyberSitter

Jinhui Computer System Engineering Co.,  the Chinese company that made the filtering software, denied stealing anything. "That's impossible," said Bryan Zhang.  Mr. Zhang insisted that the software is his company's. "How is it possible that my coding is exactly the same as theirs?" he said. "This is unfair to me. Everyone is taking my software apart now. This is illegal ... I can't answer any more of these pointless questions."

- WSJ News Article

Friday, June 12, 2009

Praja Rajyam Party And Its Likely ‘Silent’ Death?

I was ecstatic when I first heard about Chiranjeevi coming into politics. But that ecstasy lived only for a few hours, until I watched the video of his announcement.

After a lot of thought on watching his first announcement, I came to conclusion that entering into politics has some far reaching motives than shameless confessions of giving back to community that gave him this silver screen demonic successful life. I have expressed my frustration and missed opportunity in my blog posts in the following days. And became a serious critique of his hypo critic political game plans, including the infamous social justice drama (or I call it caste exploitation), well before lots of others.

Anyways, rest is history. The ‘silence’ in revolution is true to an extent, just that the silence means a clear rejection of his drama in real life.

Having garnered about 5% of seats, I hope, everybody now understand that ‘people’ did not call him, whatever that means.

Now having a mega flop at ballot box, I won’t expect Chiranjeevi to move away from Politics and go back to movies any time soon. It takes lots of courage and deeper self esteem to accept defeat with grace. I don’t think he has that quality. He nullified the judgment of the people as if it was nothing by saying, he believe it was only important to play the game, not winning it.  (Yet, he is putting all he got again to win in the upcoming greater Hyderabad elections).

But I hope, he will go back to People with the same vigor and rigor he campaigned during the Elections, instead of sitting in Hyderabad and plotting for next election. I hope he continue his fight for the people on the very issues he raised during the campaigns. I hope he continue to fight for each line in his dream manifesto to establish a truly praja rajyam. I hope he continue to go every village and talk to people with the same compassion and media exposure he managed during the first few days and during the election campaign. I hope he will raise funds to organize mega events just like he did so far, this time, to educate people and energize to fight for justice. And I sincerely hope, he will succeed, if he could show his real compassionate side leaving aside the political makeup.

Hope, he will.

Andhra Politics : Election Is Not A Means But An End

Every Political leader vowed their lives to serve the people. They also said, they have no ‘interest’ of any kind in ‘power’ but to serve the people. At least, that is what they said, before the election. For almost two months leading up to the Election, they kept on talking tirelessly, day and night, in every media outlet and public meeting, how they would like to serve the people and how they want to stand with the people in the thick and the thin of times.

Elections are over almost a month ago. How many of those leaders now stood in the midst of people? How many of them went back to people? How many of them want to campaign now with the people to solve their problems. The very problems political leaders used as their campaign slogans are still there. Be it condition of farmers, welfare, education, wages, projects or what ever.  Why aren’t they continuing their fight against corruption any more? Why aren’t they fighting on behalf of people any more? Why aren’t they organizing meetings any more?

Instead, political leaders are quite busy again with upcoming Greater Hyderabad election preparations. Studying, reviewing and analyzing how they did in the election last month. What did work and what did not work, and how to make sure everything work in the next election. Adjusting their tones, slogans and political affiliations to acquire power. To stabilize and strengthen their own party cadre.

Chiranjeevi said he came to politics because people called him. He offered to serve people till his last breath…… and lot more. Its almost a month now. Why didn’t he leave Hyderabad and went ‘back’ to people and start serving them. Why does he now believe ‘achieving power’ is the only means of serving people. Why he spends all his time building the party and preparing for the next election leaving aside the very people that called him? Doesn’t it the other way around? Start serving people and build the cadre in that.

What about the issues of the people? The people themselves? Corruption? Welfare? Farmers? ……. ! Probably, they will address them again in the next Election.  Election is not a means or a beginning to serve people. But its an end in itself for an opportunity to acquire power.

What we have so far are only Election campaigns. No campaigns that address real issues of People. We only have Party manifestos. No manifesto for the people, by the people.

Will this ever change? Lok Satta, for sure, offers glimmers of hope and promise.  But lacks the power and mechanics to expedite.

Monday, June 8, 2009

India attracts US$ 4.3 billion worth FII in May 2009

Promise of a stable government? or Promise of a growing economy? Or both? Its great to the FII flowing again.

 

Foreign institutional investors (FIIs) have pumped in Rs 20,117 crore (US$ 4.3 billion) into the Indian equity markets in the month of May 2009 — the highest in 19 months.

India's market capitalisation (m-cap) has touched the US$ 1 trillion-mark, propelling it back among the top-ten in the world m-cap rankings. At US$ 1.04 trillion, India's m-cap is the ninth largest in the world and in equivalent rupee terms, it is closer to the country's gross domestic product (GDP) of Rs 5,332,753 crore (US$ 1.13 trillion).

India attracts US$ 4.3 billion worth FII in May 2009

Sunday, June 7, 2009

India vs. China : On Innovation and Competitiveness

As per a Feb 2009 Report, “The Atlantic Century : Benchmarking EU & U.S. Innovation and Competitiveness”  from The Information Technology & Innovation Foundation (ITIF), China stands at 33 with 36.0 points while India finishes the last in the list of 40 countries in the world with 21.6 points.

What is the basis for these Rankings?

To create a holistic understanding of how a country is performing in terms
of global competitiveness and whether or not that performance is expected
to continue, decline, or increase in the future, ITIF used the following 16
indicators to evaluate the global competitiveness of the United States and
other countries:
1. Human capital: higher education attainment in the population ages
25–34; and the number of science and technology researchers per
1,000 employed.
2. Innovation capacity: corporate investment in research and
development (R&D); government investment in R&D; and share of the
world’s scientific and technical publications.
3. Entrepreneurship: venture capital investment; and new firms.
4. Information technology (IT) infrastructure: e-government;
broadband telecommunications; and corporate investment in IT.
5. Economic policy: effective marginal corporate tax rates; and the
ease of doing business.
6. Economic performance: trade balance; foreign direct investment
inflows; real GDP per working-age adult; and productivity.

And when it comes to overall change from 1999 to Feb 2009 on similar ranking, China tops the list with 19.5 points while India secured the spot of 14 with 13.6.

So these rankings indicate that over the last 10 years, China is becoming competitive and innovative faster and better than the rest of the world while it has lot catching up to do in absolute world rankings. And India still lags behind China with wider margin in both the change as well as absolute rankings.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

H1B and L1 Visa Reform Act is Back Again.

The H1B and L1 Visa Reform Bill is back again. The bill attempts to close loopholes that would otherwise let firms abuse the program and replace US work force instead of complementing US workforce.

I do not believe this would threaten the India’s outsourcing Industry at large, but many do as per this news report found at Yahoo. My own understanding is that currently the H1B visa program has been abused by some, for sure. And it is better for all parties to have a fair system and prevent any abuses. While it may change hiring practices by some Indian IT vendors that rely on loop holes, it benefits India in the long run. There are so many things that are currently ‘normal’ in this whole H1B, are not fair, to those who truly deserve the opportunity to work in US.

Read the complete Press Release here.  Key Excerpts from the Press release:

  • The Durbin-Grassley bill would mend the H-1B visa program, not end it, making reasonable reforms while not reducing the number of H-1B visas that are available.
  • Require all employers who want to hire an H-1B guest-worker to first make a good-faith attempt to recruit a qualified American worker. Employers would be prohibited from using H-1B visa holders to displace qualified American workers.
  • Prohibit the blatantly discriminatory practice of “H-1B only” ads and prohibit employers from hiring additional H-1B and L-1 guest-workers if more than 50% of their employees are H-1B and L-1 visa holders.
  • The Durbin-Grassley bill would institute a number of reforms to the L-1 visa program, including establishing for the first time a process to investigate, audit and penalize L-1 visa abuses.

You can Read the full text of the Bill here:

The H-1B and L-1 Visa Reform Act (S. 887) (PDF File)

Going for H1B Visa Stamping? Be Prepared To Stay Back For A While

Its no longer a hearsay or a rumor that some Professionals on H1B had trouble getting Visa stampings in their home countries.  When I first shared a similar story with friends and colleagues almost a couple of months ago, most of them didn’t believe and suspected that there must be something not appropriate with that professional, so encountered issues with Visa stamping. Listen to this NPR’s Market Place story that reports that lots of H1B professionals that left for India recently had trouble coming back.

 

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee this week. She said her agency is stepping up checks on the H-1B visa program. Those are the visas that let highly skilled foreign professionals work in the U.S. when no qualified American can be found.

Professionals from India -- often tech workers -- have generally taken a big chunk of those visas. But a lot of them are now finding it harder to get them renewed. So they're stuck in their home country.

Source: Market Place

It was reported in that story that Homeland Security has stepped up security checks on the H1B visa program and your Visa renewal may take much longer time than it normally do. I would also assume, the current economic conditions have some say in those decisions as well.  With the growing unemployment in almost all sectors, it would be difficult for most employers to justify continue hiring a H1B. So if you are leaving for your home country that need to have Visa renewed, be prepared to wait for a long time.

Most important things to take care of are your current job with your employer and any payments that must be made. Discuss with your employer the possibility of delays and try to setup your laptop such that you can work from India if the need arises. That will ensure you get at least your regular paychecks and keep your cash flow for payments. If it is not possible, make sure to have alternate arrangements for any regular payments. Leave enough reserve in your bank to handle any contingencies or have your friends take care for some.

Also, take all the information required to make any adjustments to all your Loans, Credit Card payments, Apartment leases etc. so that if the need arises you can contact right from India itself and negotiate better terms. Many times, your friends may not be able to discuss even though they may have all the information.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Why China Is So Different Than Any Other Country?

 

That’s why calling China merely “the next Silicon Valley” misses the singularity of what’s happening there. The Valley has never been like this, and I don’t say that to knock the Valley. In many ways,  our steady development has been healthier. But it’s also a lot less electric. In the next ten years or so way more money will be lost amid the China chaos, but I’m betting way more money will be made too.

China, as a country, is developing in parallel. The wagons are running constantly and going in nearly every direction. It’s a time of chaos that can burn people out, but it’s also one so unique in the history of modern economics that many ambitious people can’t ignore it. That’s why most transplants from the West who survive their first two years in China tend to stay for more than ten.

Given all this, China is a lot more inwardly focused than other places like Israel and Europe where start-ups have to be global from day one to have a big enough addressable market. When it comes to the Web and mobile, the biggest surprises will likely come from local, non-English speaking entrepreneurs, maybe even those outside the largest cities. They probably don’t read TechCrunch and may not even know where Silicon Valley is on a map. But that won’t matter, because their local market will necessarily develop very differently than ours.

Excerpt from Techcrunch

China is fast and furious, if I have to summarize my understanding in two words. I believe, innovation is born out of constraints.  May be lack of democracy helps quick turn around.  May be lack of freedom in every aspect of life help them focus better in what they do.  Lack of English speaking people make them innovate and create solutions for the local market and even create complete interfaces in their own language.

Even though, many of my friends say I in India stands for IT and believe Indians are some of the most intelligent people on earth, I haven’t seen a computer with interface in my own language or any other Indian language for that matter. The closest I got so far is type my own language in English and let an application translate that to native script.  I guess, Indian entrepreneurs and people like me are busy solving (or working on) problems of US and Europe rather than our own.

And we are quite proud of India being the largest democracy of the world, whether it works or not.  And, some how we got to a stage where we say, our sluggish beauracracy is our best defense against racing China. And without a doubt, most of us pray China to fail rather than India to change and many of us are quite sure (somehow) that China would eventually fail for the same reasons that are considered as its strengths today. And then India will move forward, just like in the fairy tale, that says ‘slow and steady wins the race’.

Well even in that aspect, China is a lot different than the rest of the world. Isn’t it? Look at the Olympic medal tally of China and India. If all India has got is this powerful and proven “slow and steady wins the race” strategy, wondering how long will it take for India to even stand in the top 10 and prove me totally wrong and stupid for my skepticism of what a lethargic democracy can achieve.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The Pinnacle of Corruption? Bank’s Systematic Fraud

With many top officials in the Government ascended from Banks like Goldman-Sachs, is Government hand-in-hand with Banks in this Financial breakdown? It appears, Government is keen on covering up Banks and their ‘fraud’ voluntarily and knowingly. Scary.

The financial industry brought the economy to its knees, but how did they get away with it? With the nation wondering how to hold the bankers accountable, Bill Moyers sits down with William K. Black, the former senior regulator who cracked down on banks during the savings and loan crisis of the 1980s. Black offers his analysis of what went wrong and his critique of the bailout.

Watch the Video and read the transcript at Bill Moyers Journal.

Who is responsible for the financial breakdown of the entire world? Fraudulent Banks, Greedy customers or the Government that removed the regulation to let it happen?

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...