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2012 in review


The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The new Boeing 787 Dreamliner can carry about 250 passengers. This blog was viewed about 1,100 times in 2012. If it were a Dreamliner, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Satyamev Jayate the show


I am writing this after watching Satyamev Jayate over the past month or so. The hoopla surrounding the show was short-lived when the first episode started. I knew that the theme of the story would echo with its name, which translates as Truth Stands Invincible; taking some mesmerizing social issues on its head. Being accustomed to sensationalizing news, I was dismayed when I saw that this was akin to a talk show. I thought this was one step down than one of the best shows on TV; concept, direction, acting and execution wise – ‘Crime Patrol’.

 

I saw the first episode in High Definition (HD), and it was mind-blowing clarity; may I add ‘without advertising breaks’. I assume that only about 1% of India might have witnessed the episode in HD. Skipping channels, I peeked in a Standard Definition (SD) channel to find the same episode only half as eye catching. However my heart was not content with what was being aired, especially how simple it was. And Aamir Khan being a no-fuss actor with great character portraying talent, still left me desiring more. I went through contrasting emotions of being cheated by the heavy advertising and promotion campaign of the show, being happy with the social cause it was aligned to and with Aamir Khan’s ‘Talk Show’.

A week went by with me and my wife discussing the episode over and over as both of us wondered, ‘was it worth’.

And then weeks passed by and more social issues were raised. I saw an indifferent India, orthodox India, politically unresponsive India, cruel India and much more. On one hand I also saw people fighting for basic necessities in life, struggling to weed out orthodox beliefs while on the other hand I witnessed the harassed standing up, administrative bodies waking up, people helping others, making an impact; slowly but surely. And then the feeling sunk in. It was like Coconut Water which grows on you with each sip.

As the saying goes, ‘First impression is the last impression’; to which I beg to differ. My assessment of the show based on its first episode and now is totally different. The fact that the show is so simple has caught on everyone’s mind; at least people I know are now aware of other people’s plight. It might not convert into any action, but they at least population at large (including myself) are now sanitized about the issues. Issues are being discussed openly and people are airing their views. While earlier discussions in train and office were limited to ‘Big Boss’ or the like, I hear something being spoken on social issues these days. India will take another two-three generations to weed out what has being going on for the past five, but at least now people are aware that they are not the only ones facing problems and now they know how to make themselves heard.

With legislation being passed about one of the causes spoken about in the show, I expect more to come. Those who have not yet seen this show, I would urge them to at least experience it once. For those who see this show on a regular basis, I would urge them to act. Do not wait for someone else to do it for you; rather believe in a sports apparel campaign ’Just do it’.

I would Aamir to take up another issue that today is a small problem but as India’s automobile population increases, it is going to be a killer engine – ‘Driving Etiquette’.

Poka-yoke and Nostalgia


I finally gave away my 10 year old desktop PC to a friend. It was lying in an state of slumber since I booted it about six months ago. On its day, it had one of the fastest processors available to consumers in India 1.7Ghz Intel Pentium 4, 256 mb RAM in the days where 128 was starting to catch up and 64 mb was the standard, an LED mouse….yes in times of trackball mouse when LED had just begun its journey in India, a scanner….quiet expensive in those days. So to say it was one mean machine.

It worked its ass off to my whims and fancies, 16 hour work-shifts, adjusting from Yahoo! chat to gmail to Facebook and coping with internet speeds ranging from 48kbps to 512 kbps. Slowly but surely age had caught up. And now with me spending more time with my PS3, somewhere my desktop was feeling left alone. So after lot of cajoling my heart, the decision to give it to some other interested soul was taken.

As I saw the machine being taken away, I was happy that it would be put to some good use than lying on the computer table….idle….

Now was time to throw away all old and damaged CDs, old software CDs, corrupt RAMs, sound cards and a CRT filter glass.I sat down to explore my wealth of no-longer-needed e-ware and to my surprise found a Samsung floppy disk in crisp condition. To people who have not seen a floppy-disk, my following video will suffice. It was a medium for on-the-go data carriage. This disk was the smallest amongst its three iterations.

As I was photographing it, I realized that industrial design of the disk was superb. I have explained the design in my video as well. However i was amazed at how the concept that I had learned during my days of Management studies to be implemented in the disk. The concept was ‘Poka-yoke‘ or simply ‘mistake-proofing’. To put it in proper words, Poka-yoke helps people and processes work right the first time. Poka-yoke refers to techniques that make it impossible to make mistakes.

Steve Jobs


 

 

 

 

 

 

Steve Jobs….

You made other companies realize what potential they had

You made other companies realize the beauty of design

You made them realize what software-hardware integration can do

You made them realize how products should look, feel and interact

You made them watch every keynote of yours

You made products and created new categories for them

You made Apple Inc. what it is today, but you also made all your competitors learn and took them where they are now…..

My respects to you……

Amey Nerkar

Jumping the Speed Gun


Harish wakes up at 6 a.m. and hurriedly brushes his teeth, meanwhile making a cuppa tea to kick-start his bowel movement, completes his morning ablutions. Putting a pair of sports shorts he runs to the gym. Half an hour of strenuous workout gets him a blood rush, puts him on top of the world. He stares hard at the mirror in the gym, high eyes move towards his biceps, admire them, move to his abdomen and stop there. He hits another set of crunches and rushes to his house. He is lightning quick. He wants quick results.

‘Clothes can be done on Saturday’ his brain processes. With a quick bath he runs for the kitchen, pop-up toaster does its job and two eggs get scrambled on the Teflon coated pan. A glass of milk to top up and it is already 7.45.

‘ No time for the dishes’ the thought runs through his mind. Pulling out ironed clothes, he stuffs the tie in his pocket. Rushing down the two floors he realises that he has not left his waste basket outside his door. ‘Tomorrow won’t make a difference’ a thought somewhere at the back of his mind.

Harish is a marketing executive in an Indian firm. Smart at his work, he has progressed quickly from being a trainee to being promoted to an Manager within past three years. He has gifted himself a posh rented house, top brands in his closet and a modified 150 cc motorcycle which he uses for his 20 minute ride to his office everyday. He is a go-getter.

Today he has to go further down the road for an early mooring appointment. By his standards, he is already late. He runs towards his motorcycle and realises that his helmet is missing. Not to miss a guaranteed promotion by end of the year, he has to crack today’s deal. He cannot afford to be late today. He skips going back to fetch his helmet and vroooom goes his bike. Twenty minutes later he passes his office and towards the client.

“He is five minutes late but the deal is cracked. The biggest deal of his life to date. He calls ups his manager to say that they got a big fat client. His manager hints at another promotion that is awaiting him. This was the toughest client with a lot of potential. Many weeks of negotiations have got him here. 16 hour work shifts, late night client calls, presentations and yet more meetings, Harish has executed the perfect sales pitch. He quickly gets a call from across the office. It is the office babe who wants to have a cup of tea with him; he thinks of a dinner.”

Harish looks to his left. There is a small crowd gathered over an empty stretch of road. Surprisingly he is on his feet, rushing to the spot. There is commotion in the crowd and people pulling out their cellphones and calling for emergency. .’Looks like an accident’ Harish says to himself while sensing trouble. He sees a gap in the crowd and goes near to see what has happened. He sees a youth, face down lying on the road. The youth has all limbs intact but his head is loosing a lot of blood, signs of his skull being cracked. Harish sees a motorcycle at the side of the road. ‘Probably a biker must have been hit’ he thinks. He observes that the motorcycle is the same brand as his. He goes near to it and by chance glances on the number plate. MH01YR2036 reads the number plate. Harish re-reads the plate. He reads it again. Harish rushes to the spot of the accident. Police has just arrived and are checking the body on the ground. They turn it over. Harish looks at it and screams. He rubs his eyes and sees himself. But unlike what he saw at the gym, there lies a body fairly depicting him but dead.

He laughs, ” It cannot be. I am standing right here in front of the body. How can the body be mine. It just bears an uncanny resemblance to me.”

…………………Whack! Harish has jumped a signal to reach the client’s office…he has to crack the deal. A car from across the street legally crossing the road brushes his motorcycle. The touch is minor but the speed at which Harish is zooming at throws him from his bike. Harish lands on the empty road ahead.

He was known to be quick in everything. The medics cannot get their hands on him. He is quick.

“Life gives you signals, follow them”

- Helmets are life savers; Follow traffic rules.

India IT 3.0


TCS gained a major leap over its nearest rivals in its annual performance for FY11. Infosys and Wipro were left far behind. This was to do with TCS chasing a larger client portfolio, reducing dependence on a few sectors, global delivery models and being aggressive with strategic acquisitions in the past three years. This is a reaction to the increasing competition to Indian IT firms from global giants to aspiring companies like iGate.

Indian IT companies have begun to understand that they need to battle out with more players in the bottom of the pyramid where margins are low while employee costs grow. It was easier to play with pricing when the industry was at the 40% growth trajectory. And there is always pressure from Dalal Street to top earlier performance. High unemployment rates in developed nations are also putting additional presence to have more local people rather than sending Indian employees on an onsite stint. However with growth slowing down and competition heating up, top Indian IT companies can ill afford the linear growth strategy.

As Indian IT companies go in the third decade of globalization, they are looking at having closer ties with the customer by providing him with disruptive technologies. The move is from IT services to product, platforms and consulting. The sector-wise delivery models are paving way for models based on set of customer requirements. Sectors like BFSI, Media and Telecom, Manufacturing, Healthcare, Retail and Energy are slowly being accompanied by models like Sustainability, Energy Efficiency, Information Analytics, Green Supply Chain, Social Media and Cloud Computing. Companies are moving out of the value proposition by cost, scale and quality to value proposition by domain, system integration and solutions.

As top IT firms face competition from firms establishing their offshore presence and companies where personnel costs are lower than in India, they have to looks at ways to provide more value to the client. Infosys has set its strategy aptly coded Infosys 3.0, which intends to transform Infosys from a technology solutions company to a business solutions provider competing with the likes of IBM and Accenture. Infosys is investing in cloud computing, intellectual property and mobility focuses platforms and services.

Indian IT firms have realized that the Customer is the Center of their Universe and are attending to their specific needs. Wipro is moving from remote infrastructure management to focus on onshore front-end to address IT Outsourcing. Infosys is offering ‘business-outcome based end-to-end services’ leveraging the cloud model. A client can buy a business service from Infosys BPO, which is a point solution created by Infosys on SAP and runs on Amazon Web Services infrastructure. Herein the client pays on business outcome and not the application, SAP license or Infrastructure.

Companies are looking at new models for business growth. TCS successfully launched iON, ‘IT-as-a-service solution’ that takes care of hardware, network and software applications to address the needs of Small and Medium Businesses in India. TCS has started to take the solution to other countries. Infosys product portfolio already lists ‘Flypp’, its mobile application platform,  healthcare product ‘I Transform’ as well as solutions built for areas like supply chain visibility where the new value will come from. Wipro is looking to strengthen its position in new verticals like Energy and Utilities where it acquired the Global Oil and Gas IT services unit of Science Application International Corp (SAIC). It has also licensed banking software to deliver core banking on an Application Service Model (ASP) to European banks.

The new mantra also seeks to build an effective portfolio of Intellectual Property Assets for future monetisation, collaboration and risk mitigation. This is highlighted by the increasing number of patent applications by TCS and Infosys.

The one which is fastest of the blocks would be the one reaping more benefits in the new decade of Indian IT. The next decade will be a testament to the non-linear growth models adopted by India’s top 3 IT companies.

This represents the best chance for new companies to move into the void created by exit of the large firms. So the next question is ‘Are small companies geared up’

You can also read the edited version (On behalf of Avalon Global Research) of the article here: http://epaper.deccanpost.in/Details.aspx?id=1517&boxid=1630480

I have to live, I have to dream


A tall well built guy comes to my mind when I glance into the past. I see myself being stronger and agile than what I am in my current avatar. That was exactly 6 years ago. A lot of nutrients have passed down my belly since then and a 31-32 inch waist has bulged to a 38 one; and growing. Below the belt humour on fat guys back then has started ricocheting off time and hitting me just above the belt. I once prided myself on being a very well balanced person on food and exercise. The latter part has been missing since the past few years while the proportion of the former has increased dramatically.

My brains have played a major part in making me believe that things would not go out of proportions. From a 72 kg frame in 2002 to an 81 kg in 2005 currently has tipped scales to 98 kgs, And the latest readings were over a couple of months ago. I have since tried hard to limit my eating habits but to no avail. A controlled diet is not my cup of tea. I like to eat, whenever wherever and whatever, provided it makes my taste buds go crazy. But that does not mean that I hog; I just eat a stomach full when I feel like. Sports and exercise were once my best friends. We slowly lost touch over the years and now I am unsure if they would recognize me. The same calories that were my enemies back then are now closest to me, to my abdomen. And I seem to do nothing about it. No amount of will is getting me closer to my aim of being fit.

To my best effort, a week of exercise is followed by a month of lull, a dance move here and a run up there is what I manage in a month. My recent effort was a year back during my engagement to a lovely lady and I had lost about ~6-8 kilos in the process. It included walking, jogging, stretching, running and dancing on a sustained basis week after week, totaling for over a month. After the D-day I lost steam.

At 20 I believed that I would be one of the few people who had a fit body when I was 30. Reflecting back I feel I was dreaming. Today I have woken up to the fact that I am nowhere near the person I believed I would be. I am a regular man approaching 30’s. My dream is shattered.

But if I have to live, I have to dream. I dream to be fit and I am convinced that I would have the will power to get up on my feet, to trod, to walk and finally run. I think I have it in me….I think I can do it. It will be gradual but I am planning for it. I am not planning any weight wise reduction, I am just planning to get on my feet and let my body do the talking.

Date: 1st April 2011

Weight: ~ 98 kgs

On the advice of my better half, Prachee, I have limited my intake of lunch and evening snack. This has resulted in a better management of my weight. Now I am not putting up like before, on the contrary I have managed to reduce it to some extent. However my intake for dinner remains unchanged.

Date: 1st May 2011

Weight: ~ 96 kgs

I reduce the intake for dinner. It fluctuates very much as I am torn between managing my intake versus the tasty food that my mom and wife cook. We buy a weighing machine to keep a check on everyone’s weight. The machine costs INR 1300 but looks super slick.

Date: 1st June 2011

Weight: ~ 94.10 kgs

I start exercising. Two days in the first week is the tally; weight reduction unknown.

Date: 1st July 2011

Weight: ~ 93.30 kgs

I control my diet, mostly. Exercise is once in a blue moon.

Date: 1st August 2011

Weight: ~ 94.20 kgs

I am not exercising, eating sweets as this is the season of festivities…..I think this will continue through first week of September

To be continued…….

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