Thursday, December 31, 2009

Just Make It Happen. Its 2010.

It has been a phenomenal and eventful year and yet its time to bid farewell to 2009 and Welcome 2010.

I wish you all a Wonderful and Eventful New Year 2010. I hope some of your dearest dreams will come true in 2010, as I believe, you will Make It Happen.

Do whatever you do the best. We are all so lucky to have a dream. And I believe, Its time. Let us Just Make It Happen. Its 2010.

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Just Make It Happen. Its 2010.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Healthcare Plan : If Majority is what all matters in Democracy ..

If majority is what all matters in democracy (getting 60 votes gives approval to the healthcare bill against opposition by 39) what about 51% of people opposing the bill (while only 38.4% favor it)?

In a broader sense, what does this mean to the concept of democracy? The elected officials that are supposed to represent the people are going against the wishes of the same people that elected them in the first place.

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Source: Real Clear Politics

My Political Profile : A Centrist With A Democratic Touch

I took a small political profiling test at okcupid and found that I am a centrist with tendency to be more liberal when it comes to social issues and moderate in economic aspects.

Your true political self:

You are a

Social Liberal
(65% permissive)

and an...

Economic Moderate
(41% permissive)

You are best described as a:

Centrist

You exhibit a very well-developed sense of Right and Wrong and believe in economic fairness.

While I am a bit surprised at the result, I love the visualization of the profile. Here are screenshots and text.

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You can try it too here:

 

http://www.okcupid.com/politics

Saturday, December 19, 2009

How to say you are a freelance software developer ??

Found this on one of the LinkedIn discussion forums. Rather very creative(?) way of saying you (may be with a team) do freelance software development for anybody.

 

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Perfios : Mint.com For Indian Consumers ?

Stumbled upon this website that appears to be a Mint.com for Indian consumers. Collect data from all your Banks, Credit cards, investments etc and provide analysis, alerts and reports at one place.

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Perfios is for anyone who wishes to solve the problem of managing wealth distributed among various asset classes and among various institutions. If you have bank accounts, credit cards, Mutual Funds, Equity etc with multiple institutions, how often have you felt that - ‘what if all of this could be accessed at one place?’ Perfios addresses exactly this aspect (and more!) and provides access across asset classes on one platform and in the process takes care of your other worries too!

Source: Perfios Website

Monday, December 14, 2009

Ideas for 2010 : Practical Alternative To Work

Its Lovely.

 

meetings-oldtime-ad.png

Source: Signal vs Noise Blog (37signals)

A picture is really worth 1000 words. Isn’t it? If you don’t agree, let us setup a meeting to discuss.

Google Living Stories : Online News, The Way It Should Have been

Google unveiled a labs feature called ‘Living Stories’ that organizes news related to a topic in a format that best fits the online reader and present all relevant information at one place.

I love this new format. Online news should have been this way in the first place, but I am glad it is headed in this direction.

Watch this YouTube video for a short demo of the new feature from Google Labs.

Check out some of the hot topics of the day…

“What Matters Now” : Ideas For 2010

Its that time of the year again,  when most of us will be looking forward to wishing yet another wonderful and eventful year to ourselves as well as friends and family. This time around, we make decisions faster, Make new rules, set New goals and make new friends. With unquestioned optimism and hope that next year will be ‘the’ year.

Here are more than seventy big thinkers, each sharing an idea for you to think about as we head into the new year.

Newauthors

From bestselling author Elizabeth Gilbert to brilliant tech thinker Kevin Kelly, from publisher Tim O'Reilly to radio host Dave Ramsey, there are some important people riffing about important ideas here. The ebook includes Tom Peters, Jackie Huba and Jason Fried, along with Gina Trapani, Bill Taylor and Alan Webber.

Here's the deal: it's free. Download it here.

What’s your Idea for 2010?

Sunday, December 13, 2009

What’s The Big Deal About Bank of America’s “Keep The Change” Promotion ?

If you have watched this wonderful talk by Rory Sutherland “TED Talk : Rory Sutherland: Life lessons from an ad man”, you must have seen this big Red button, showed while explaining that “interface” determines the behavior.

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Paraphrasing a bit, “if there is a large red button on a wall in your home and every time you press this button it will save you $50, then you will save a lot. Because interface fundamentally determines our behavior. Marketing has done a very very good job of creating opportunities for impulse buying but never for impulse saving”.

And of course, as he admits, that is against consumerism and act against the very ambitions of companies that create these advertisements, so probably will never build such an interface.

So, when a company says they built an interface that makes saving money a lot easier, you better bring your instincts and not believe it at once.

When I saw the promotional advertisement “Keep the change” by Bank Of America that will make saving a lot easier, I did not believe it. It almost looked like that “simple red button” interface that could help you save more.

Well, its not. More over, this is a perfect example of marketing mentioned in that presentation. I went on to its website and read here the details of “Keep the change”.

Basically, when you pay with your charge card, BoA will round up to the nearest dollar and put those (your own) pennies in to a savings account.  What it means? BoA wants you to spend dollars with their charge card more so that you can save ‘your own pennies’ more. Of course, first 3 months they will match those pennies 100% and 5% afterwards. And the tag line, “keep the change” try to infer that you may loose the change if you don’t enroll in this program. Isn’t it true that you always keep your change?

And here is one thing to remember. If those pennies add up to a significant amount, if you think or BoA thinks, then your checking account is also depleted faster now. Here is the magic part. Now, if you accidentally run over your balance even by a few pennies, you may attract a hefty overdraft fee, which wouldn’t have happened if you had left those pennies in your checking account.

Hmmmmm!!!!!!!!!!!!

A better way to save money is if Bank of America offer to move some pennies automatically and for free from Savings account to the Charge card when it runs out so that customers don’t have to pay about $35 or more in overdraft fee to cover say 35 cents over the balance.

If they can move money from Checking to Savings for free, why can’t they offer to move money from Savings to Checking when needed for free.

What do you think?

MIT vs. IITs : Is There A Comparison?

If you ever wonder about this or believe in one way or the other, it may be worth looking at this wiki page : List of Nobel Laureates by University Affiliation.

Almost every other day I read or hear somebody comparing India’s IITs with MIT. As per my understanding, its ridiculous. As much as I love India, I hate this fake image. There is no comparison, other than IITs as the Best You get in India to MIT being one of the Best in the world.

I have no doubt, they are the Best in India, but they are not comparable on a world scale.

Every attribute I think worth of comparing two universities, IITs are no where closer to most American universities, leave alone MIT.  In fact, they are even behind some of Chinese universities in most attributes.

Disclaimer: I did not go to any of those IITs or any American or Chinese universities. I studied in an NIT (previously called RECs) instead.

Problem Solving In A Corporate World

The essence of problem solving is in fact not solving a problem, but detecting one before it becomes one. And the way, problems are solved in a corporate world is anything but a mystery.
Disclaimer(s):
  • For illustration, I used Software Developers. You are free to use your own imagination to see any role in a corporate. It really fits the story.
  • Any possible similarities to my current or previous work place are not intentional but mere coincidences. It is impossible not to have these coincidences in any corporate and it is totally beyond my control.
  • There are exceptions and they are really exceptions.
  • If you are a Manager, you may get offended by getting closer to reality.
There are 1000s of great software developers that can solve a problem once you define what is your problem.  But, unfortunately, many of them are good at just that.  They are really great at doing what they are told to do. And, of course, Managers love them, as they rarely question, anything.

But there are others of them, who can spot a problem in the system, while they are still doing what they are assigned just like any other. And most cases, they pursue the problem. Investigate further, analyze further and come up with a proposal or solution to fix.

Its no secret, or I must admit it is totally ‘typical’ in a corporate culture, how that ‘messenger of problem‘ will be received and treated. The stalwarts (read as old timers) never like to accept that there is a problem in the product they have been working for so long. In many cases its their baby for all practical purposes. And some complain that they never had time to figure out earlier, otherwise they are equally smart to identify it.  And some say, they always know about this issue, but never had a chance to look at it deeper. Almost everybody thinks this guy has “an agenda” for bringing it up.

If you are dealing with people that own the product (startups or smaller firms), it is a totally different story. They love those people who think beyond. But in corporate, Managers love only those that love them in the first place.

Anyways, end of the day, in most cases, the whole corporate will reiterate the adage “if ain’t broken, don’t bother to fix it”, as there will always be a resource crunch, budget shortage and there are other important things to do. And few minutes later, the engineer gets an additional assignment as Management believes this engineer has more time at disposal.

And give it a few months, some body in the top line changes and do a comparative analysis with so-and-so product familiar with and comes up fresh ideas or a customer raises an issue;  whole team will be buzzing on working on a top priority, critical and customer sensitive project, that gets double the resources, budget and timelines. Guess, who gets to work on the issue? This time, though, the first section of Engineers will be given the responsibility to fix the issue, as Managers are always convinced that they are the best to solve any problem.

Obviously, these guys didn’t spot it in the first place or will never have the passion to ‘own’ that problem, so will work on the issue, fix the problem as they see it and as they always have been fixing, to the satisfaction of the Management. Management is happy and gives them a promotion and these are all set to take up next top priority customer sensitive project.

And you all know the rest of the story. You may be the one making this history.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Reverse Brain Drain To India : Its Not What It Seems

Few days back I read an article breaking the news that lots of Indians are going back to India, causing what is called as ‘reverse brain drain’. Its not the first time I heard this, and certainly it won’t be the last time. Every time going gets tougher in US, I hear this story. This is not a surprise to hear the story in 2009, the worst of times we have seen in recent years. 

Whatever reason many attribute to their intention to return to India, it won’t be any easier just to get back. So many things that are taken for granted in US are a rarity or a luxury in India like electricity and roads.  And another significant aspect pointed (in an NY Times Article ) by Raju Narisetty, “Some very simple practices that you often take for granted, such as being ethical in day to day situations, or believing in the rule of law in everyday behavior, are surprisingly absent in many situations”. 

Some get upset. Some get used to it, for its not an alien thing to anybody. But some hate it so much that they are returning to US, causing a reverse-reverse-brain drain or just brain drain.

Its All About Perception : Selling ‘Square’ As A ‘Diamond’

Stumbled upon this great talk on ‘perception’ while browsing for a TED India talk. I simply loved it. The most interesting part of the talk is an example in the talk (one of the best and simplest) that illustrate how Marketers play with perception to sell products. 

Each one of us understand ‘perception’ to an extent. But this is quite unbelievable.

“Advertising adds value to a product by changing our perception, rather than the product itself.”

TED Talk : Rory Sutherland: Life lessons from an ad man

Now when you see an ad (any ad for that matter) next time, I bet, your ‘perception’ will be quite ……… not the same as ever.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Global Warming : Who is Right? What is the Truth?

The debate at Copenhagen just begun. Hopefully, we will have some clarity and Truth about the whole gamut of Global Warming and whether we the humans are guilty of it.

So far, Scientists on both sides of the argument defend themselves. But one must note that both sides are making a political statement as Scientific data does not conclude either way. These scientists tend to take a position and go back to data to find out data sets that prove their points.

Having said that, anybody can say anything about Climate Change, and it is most likely that he/she is right and wrong at the same time, even based on the scientific data per se.

Hope we get some clarity and all scientific community come to an agreement. May be, I should have said, I wish.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Finest Excuse For Indian Chaos : We Are Different !

This is one of the most hilarious and self-serving excuses I have ever heard for Indians being chaotic : we are different !

In a TED Talk, Devdutt Pattanaik says “two fundamentally different sets of beliefs about God, death and heaven” separate Indians from the west and explain the differences in contrasting behaviors. West being structured, orderly and Indians being unstructured and chaotic, have something to do with their religious beliefs.

I definitely agree that this is one of the most creative expressions, but I think a lousy excuse for being “well, it depends” and “I am like this because of my religious beliefs”.

The key reason for chaos, I believe, lies in the rule of law and the kind of respect people have for any rule of law. Spare all those stories of Ethics and all that. People are taught in every way possible, the only way to survive and succeed is by NOT following any kind of rule of law.  Many even say that it is impossible to find a successful Indian that is not corrupt. 

Imagine how Indians treat if some Indian refuse to pay bribe. They laugh at that person, ridicule in every possible way and literally socially outcast that person. And think about how they would treat a person that defy those rules and get things done by all but honest way. A hero of sorts.

If they were to believe truly in any religion, Indians won’t be like what they are today. The typical Indian ideology doesn’t belong to any religion that I know of.

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...