Showing posts from June, 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. 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 (a

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 i

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,

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

  “ T here 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 starte

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 manuf

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. So, 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

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 immedia

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

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

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 meeti

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

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

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 n

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'

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

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?