Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Harsh lessons learnt for life from my first year of MBA

Well folks I've almost completed my first year of MBA. The journey was not easy and had lots of tweets and status updates. I could not have done this without the support of my Friends, Family, Teachers (yeah both of them ;) ), all chicken corners and fast food joints in Greater Noida. Oops I forgot this was not end of second year, sorry wrong speech. So coming back to point the year bygone has told me many lessons which I swear I’ll never forget in my life. As I've a habit of forgetting things, I decided to write a blog about the 10 most valuable lessons I learnt.


1. It is always hard to stay awake in a class but easier to stay awake through a late night movie. Even after having a bucket at KFC. If you don’t believe me, aa forget it I know most of you are already saying “Been there, done that”

2. On the first day of the month you’ll be having Butter chicken with 100 pipers. On the last of the month you’ll be having Dal Roti with hostel ka paani. (This I have a feeling will stay ever after my MBA)

3. You’ll always remember the latest song and sing it even while sleeping, but you’ll never remember that economics theory even when the teacher demands from you in the class.

4. It is easier to wake up early in the morning to watch a cricket match, but impossible for completing a left over assignment.

5. You can always motivate a group for a sip of Royal Challenge, but never for that Marketing group assignment. (I bet Vijay Mallaya loves that, hope he gives me a job when it comes to placements)

6. Text messages are still the way for it, when you know you have your faculty over at Facebook too.

7. That mentos thing (late for class wali) never works in real life. Teachers are way too smart to fall for that trick and you just freeze when they shout or throw some sarcasm at you.

8. Do break rules but don’t get caught not only applies at the traffic lights but also in B-School life.

9. Never think weekends are supposed to be fun, you’ll only be disappointed.

10. Trust me. It was far easier to write this blog than a 500 words project report.

So there they are, if you also have some do share it with me at the bottom. For moment let the feeling that we are seniors now sink in.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Social media over a cup of coffee

As always last Saturday I’d nothing useful to do, and some said weekends are meant to be fun. Well quite simply no if you’re single, 22 and coming to a new place, knowing not many and having no bike. But I simply refused my usual self to exist and woke up at 9. Yes on a weekend I woke up at 9, when was the last time that happened?

But because of my kind friend Mudassir, it was not going to be the same tale again. He had emailed me earlier about a certain OCC (no it is not an abbreviation for Over a Cup of Coffee but Open Coffee Club) having a discussion about Social Media. Well after that it was just what I was missing for the past few weeks “A high octane discussion by people mostly young from different companies and some even from different countries”.

We were past the clich├ęs pretty soon, and went onto some serious discussion. It was really exciting to meet few entrepreneurs and specially some who were in the social media space. Social media is such a space where every fifth person on Facebook and every second on twitter feels like an expert. Not that I’m questioning anyone’s expertise as I feel no expert, but there were really some good takeaways from the discussion.

One that really has stuck me is that Facebook was designed as a platform where people will stay and will be reluctant to leave. Well this thought had never crossed my mind. We all think of leveraging what this new Facebook revolution has given us. But in the process we all try to bring prospective customers to our website, so instead of that we are better off by keeping them hooked on the platform itself and engaging them as much as possible by discussions and debates. The idea that nobody likes to be sold to forcefully also add to this and makes the point that content is the king hygiene today.

Another important point was how much of a truth was behind what Facebook might tell me the profile of my TG. To be honest I know most of the links I’ve liked in the past few months were either obligations or were due to my conscience forcing me so that I keep my Facebook friends engaged. So if Facebook come up with some analysis of that data constructing an image of me, I won’t be surprised if I fail to recognize myself. And then is this article on Facebook which talks about some more things that have crossed my mind more than once in the previous few months. Perhaps that’s the reason I’ve shifted more to Twitter.

Ah Twitter. Then there was one of the most significant things I remember. Someone pointed out that instead of shoving our products down the throat of a follower on Twitter, one should try to collect information about what they tweet and perhaps make better products or even innovation, who knows what all is possible. I remember another person mentioning that he had written a book on Sanskrit. He had a Facebook page which had not many followers. But a simple comment on some forum discussing about Sanskrit brought 6000 followers to his page. Moral of the story, it’s not only about sharing on your own page but also at other places also.

I think Social media is in a nascent stage now, where not many can predict which way it will go and what consequences it will bring with it. A thing called Orkut was hip a few years ago and today it is as good as Gautam Gambhir’s facial expressions DEAD. But one thing is for sure, along with all the changes, it will definitely bring along new opportunities, open new business horizons and much more.

P.S-I would like to apologize to have not mentioned any names above. For the people who were present there and are reading, I had to rush as I had no breakfast that morning and can’t survive on a hungry stomach on a weekend so it was not possible for me to know some better. But there is one person I do remember. It’s Amarinder and Amarinder thanks for everything, for moderating and for arranging it all. I would love to attend more OCC meets till the time I’m here.

Comments are welcomed J

Monday, May 23, 2011

That’s how you hit two targets with one shot says Congress

Today an LTTE Leader made a sensational appearance hinting that DMK might have been indirectly responsible for Rajiv Gandhi’s death. But that’s not the crucial. The crucial thing is the timing. If we look back at most of the incidents around DMK and Congress one can easily sense what’s going on.

Before going on let’s have a look at some of the facts. DMK is the third largest party in the UPA coalition behind Congress and Trinamool Congress with a substantial 18 seats. The last two years of the government has seen more scams and allegations of corruption than bills passed, with DMK seen as the centre of it most of it. The media has mostly shown DMK as a corrupted party which has nepotism grounded in it. The DMK lost badly in the recent assembly elections in Tamil Nadu and the by the looks of it, it doesn’t seem that they will gain the lost ground soon and easily. And then the most important fact of them all, two DMK MP’s, one of them being DMK supreme’s daughter is behind bars for one of the largest corruption cases India has seen.

Enough facts now let’s see the ground situation. Congress suffering from bad public image is trying to put all corruption image on the face of DMK and even distancing itself from DMK sometimes. They cannot afford to leave DMK’s hand as if DMK pulls out, the government can collapse. So what they are doing is putting one foot in the door. Sonia Gandhi showing some closeness to J. Jaylalitha and reminding DMK they are just an option. I won’t be surprised if they leave DMK and join hands with AIADMK in the next general elections.

This was the Congress’s situation. Now let’s have a look at DMK’s state of affairs. DMK has hit an all time low. They have a very low public acceptance with them at the moment. So if they decide to pull out leading to a collapse of the government, they won’t be too confident while going for the assembly elections at such a moment. So they are in a situation where they can’t demand anything and can only sit and wait for things to turn better.

So it’s more of an alliance where nobody can do anything but to stay together. But Kanimozhi has been made a scapegoat by Congress to show DMK what they are capable of. Also this has shown how helpless a father can be in the wake of Indian politics.

Social Networking +1

I was going through my twitter Newsfeed when an idea struck me to relieve me of my boredom so I got down writing

Facebook ask me what I'm thinking, Twitter asks what I’m doing, Foursquare asks where I am and Orkut....aaaa. Ok forget Orkut I can’t remember, anyways it’s dead. I decided to create some fictional Social Networking website with some catchy status update asking lines.

1. Food&me.com

Yeah it had to start with food.

What’s hitting that belly?


2. IPLHooked.com

Who is getting the next curse?


3. PoliticiansToTihar.com

Oh this one is one of my favourites.

Who’s coming next?


4. YeahImfat.com

What’s the next excuse to console?


5. GeeksAreGod.com

For some of my geek friends

How many lines of code today?


6. OneSidedLovers.com

Who is the hot chick that just moved to office/college/school/colony blab blab............


7. DepressedExLovers.com

When are the next happy hours and what’s on your mind Devdas?


8. PoliticiansInTihar.com

Yeah one more

How much?


9. RajniRulez.com

Any Joke will do sire.


10. Bored4mOffice.com

ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

Friday, May 20, 2011

Eureka........Eureka!


Don’t worry, I was not having a bath when I said the above words nor have I discovered anything new. I was in my usual place in the office doing nothing but some reading and mind thrashing. But during the course of my meditation (of course mind thrashing) I came upon the news of LinkedIn IPO and I could feel the fears of some sceptics and laughs of some lunatics. For the past 6 months or so I been hearing a lot of talk of another bubble in the making from the bubble obsessed people, our now beloved friends Americans. To be more precise another dot com bubble.

The recent events like the takeover of Skype by Microsoft and the LinkedIn IPO helped a lot by giving a lot to talk and write. I couldn’t help but feel that the only reason many of the American watch News is to find another bubble or to create one. So obsessed are they with the idea of a bubble that even after having disastrous consequences twice in a decade they still want another one.

It seems like God has definitely blessed America or Americans as to say by once again listening to them. I have been hearing stories of people driving across States with posters on their cars saying “God give us another bubble”. But this definitely is not a dot com bubble, even if it turns out to be a bubble in the end. This time it’s all about social networking. Be it Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Zygna or Skype. The buzz word is social networking. There are people saying this is not a bubble as all these have sustainable business models generating good revenue year after year. But so were the companies that started the last dot com bubble like Ebay, Amazon and its revenue not profits people.

But this is not where the things go wrong. I read someplace there are three kinds of entrepreneurs. The first are the innovators, the second are the ones who tweak and take it to masses and third are the cheap imitators. The third ones are the one which are most dangerous. It seems that most of the people who run to the markets to invest have either not read or forgotten that “All that glitters is not gold”. The LinkedIn IPO showed how eagerly people wanted an IPO from the social networking breed. With some shares going at double or more the initial price of $45, its valuation went straight away to $8 billion in the trading market from the $2.5 billion it had earlier.

And the Curious Case of Microsoft buying Skype has not helped, but add more fuel to the fire. By no means this looks like a bubble. It when every Tom, Dick and Harry is making social networking sites to make those millions (which I guess is already going on) and the rest of Tom, Dick and Harries think that they can rank in the moolah by investing is when things go wrong. Both things have started, but not risen to alarming propositions. The next year is going to be very interesting to watch whether Facebook or Twitter comes out with IPO and how big of a response come from people (it sure is going to be big). It’s after that, the people who would think that they missed the bus will be interesting to watch. As these will be the gullible ones to burn their hands by investing in the third category of ventures. So let’s wait and watch the movie. From the looks of the initial trailer or teaser or whatever you call, it looks to be an interesting one. I have already bought the popcorns and a nice comfy seat. For the moment GOD BLESS AMERICA!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Wars…..Wars: We Want Wars




Before you even think about judging me, I’m a peace loving person, although not a follower of Gandhi, but still I do shun violence. So you must be thinking why am I supporting Wars?
Well parallel to all the Wars we all know (Mostly involving US) there has been another kind of violence going on, mostly silently, sometimes roaring. It stays hidden for most of the time, never makes for front page headlines or for that matter to Prime time Debates on 24 hour News. But these Wars are something who as much influential as all the other Wars you’ve been thinking about. But one thing about them is after the War is over winner is you the reader.
Ok enough suspense, let me raise the curtain and show the magic (no magic actually that just sounded good). I’m talking about Wars such as Cola Wars 80’s, Browser Wars of the 90’s and more recently Cell Phone OS war.
So let’s start with the Cola Wars. I was fortunate enough to read a case study about Cola Wars in my first year of MBA, but I can swear on Gita, Kuran or Bible that I hardly remember a thing. All I can gather is that the War left has us with beautiful commercials, lovely jingles and a handful of products, the taste of which we are still savouring. Not to mention it also gave us lot of MBA material to study and lots of strategies also and one big case to do with. Although I know the last part won’t make many happy especially my esteemed classmates who are dreadful and weary of reading 20+ pages of a Case. I shall not say more about that, because I know I’m riding on a very thin rope and I’m yet to complete my second year. Nevertheless the Cola Wars gave us a lot of things which till date we remember and so much was its influence that it went to the outer space as well.
The second war and one I’m more close to is Browser Wars. We all love to open up Google Chrome or FireFox or even Internet Explorer (You lazy idiots stop using this crap and download a worthwhile browser) but few of us might be familiar about something called Mosaic. It was the first known web browser, which later gave birth to Netscape Navigator, which later was the reason for development of Internet Explorer, which later….ok that’s enough, go figure it out yourself. It was also one of the reasons of now famous Microsoft’s antitrust litigation. Although the rest didn’t go too sweet for Netscape, but see what has that left us. It gave numerous web browsers, made a couple of Nerds millionaires (as if I give a damn, they didn’t give a dime to me). And it also played a big role in the massive Dot com bubble.
Recently though we saw another such War among Mobile Phones OS, precisely between Android and iOS. And I have to say I love all the cartoons these people make. They also love to take a dig at each other once in a while. And then we do have the Joker also in Steve Balmer who has a habit of giving us reasons to mock him. Saying that this War is nothing in proportion to the earlier ones will be an understatement. But still if you think so, just go and search the amount of lawsuits they have on each other.
As I draw to a close, I would like to point out to another War in making, a war which can have an even bigger impact. It’s the Tablets people. The thing we all want to own and because we can’t (apparently because of money) we say it’s useless and crap and full of shit and blahhh….
As you can see even in these Wars, the biggest participant has been the US. So therefore I urge the US Department of Defence and also President Obama to increase their budget, so that they can speed up more on such Wars and give us something to cheer about.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Find your Singur-An Open letter to Mr. Rahul Gandhi

, cFirst of all congratulations Mr. Gandhi for the victories Congress garnered in the recent assembly elections across different states. A special mention of Mamata Banerjee who has proved that True Grit, Resilience with Patience can help achieve anything, may people take lessons from her struggle and implement them in other places.

Now let’s come back to you. A few days ago you were making headlines for something. Something you did in villages near Greater Noida. You were there supporting the farmers agitation against the state government for the way it acquired land. Well at least that’s what the media was telling me. Now Mr. Gandhi let me familiarize you with one of the cruellest yet most useful word of today. It’s called RESULTS.

You can ask any school going child, or an investor how big is that word’s importance today. So let’s have a look at the results you generated from your so called agitation.

1. Gained a lot of Political mileages and newspaper coverage

2. Checked another point from the To-do list (Going to jail)

Did anything else happen that made significance?

Now those were the results you gave. Let’s have a look at what could also have been achieved. If the land was really acquired illegally or at lower prices, you could have continued your agitation and deliver something like what Mamata did in Singur. You could have done a lot more, that would show up on your report card, telling people that you are serious about things.

Uttar Pradesh is a state which has literally slept through the last two decades of India’s growth. It has always been seen as a drag on the nation, pulling back the growth shown by other states. It has been notoriously famous for its population, having one of the lowest literacy rates in the country. You were the one who termed it as you “Karambhoomi”. Mr. Gandhi it’s not words that matter, it’s the actions, remember.

With UP assembly elections not too far away and then the next General elections in 2014, all eyes will be on you and the results you are capable to produce. Mr. Gandhi “Find your Singur” and make it clear you mean business or we won’t take too long to forget you.

Today you are not only talking to the Aam admi, you are talking to the Common man as well. And common man lives in the age of Twitter, Facebook, and Blogs etc. Common man makes an effort to look beyond the obvious, search and not just believe what he is shown. Mr Gandhi common man is not just educated, he is enlightened also. He can see what India is capable of and where it is lying because of the leaders who are in charge of the ship.

Mr Gandhi, common man puts a price tag on his vote and that vote is not for sale. You will have to earn our votes to get them. You will have to prove, that you are worthy of being considered as a leader, who can lead us in the future. Mr. Gandhi you will have to rise above things like petty politics, easy political mileage and show us some real results. I know it will be a very difficult War, but then Wars are not won in a day. Wars are decided on the fate of small Battles. Battles like Mamata Banerjee fought in Singur, in Nandigram and ultimately won the thirty plus year long War against left. And as caution my dear friend once said; you cannot win every Battle, you’ll have to pick your Battles to win. Pick your Battles today and leave behind petty skirmishes and the big War is coming soon, but its fate is already being built upon. And if you fail to take notice of all these things, that cruel word RESULTS will not be a happy reading for you.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Android killed my Laptop


My roomie won’t be too happy reading this post as he’s an Apple fan bigtime, who worships Steve Jobs. And he is sitting beside me when I’m writing this, probably thinking about coding some rival application. But that’s how the world is today. It’s no longer Mac vs. Windows or Linux. It’s the cell phones that have taken the world by storm now. I could hardly remember the day when I started becoming so heavily dependent on cell phones. Was it when I got my hands on N-series or iPhone?

Back in 2005 when in school, it started using Linux mostly openSUSE and the Ubuntu. And with my geeky friends who all are now engineers used to argue Mac or Linux, yeah Windows was never in discussion. Fast forward to 2011, I landed in Bangalore sharing a room with another geek working for an IT company and for the past one week all we have been discussing has been Android, MeeGo, Symbian or iOS. And as I love arguing, the debate is still on.

But it’s not that PC OS are out of our debates. It’s out from daily chores as well, starting from checking my email, Facebook, Twitter and many other things. I actually prefer using my Cell phone to complete these tasks, and of course for music, although that is shared by my iPod also. And beyond these usual suspects, I read News, play Solitaire (love the game), of course Angry birds and so many more things. Those who know me know what those so many things mean.

So one would ask the obvious question why Android, all these things were even accomplished by cell phones that came before it. Well I say the same reason, they (Nokia...coughs) are not selling and Droids are. But as my Boss says “Nothing is obvious in life”, so let’s dig a little more.

I bought my current droid (x10i) last year and now I’m planning to buy Galaxy SII (Let those bucks once). The reason I would say it was Android and not even Apple, is because even my friend from school who once asked how to unmute his laptop (yes he did) is posting updates on Facebook underneath which is written via Facebook for Android. It came to masses and with a UI that was simple with apps which were too many and free.

With features such as the Swype keyboard and some real fancy pyrotechnics (No I am not wrong I used that word intentionally) they give it gives me a rich and a way better experience than my Crap (Windows) loaded laptop. That’s the reason I would say “Android killed my laptop”

I do use my laptop sometimes and although I agree it will never cease to exist, but nowadays it’s more like Sourav Ganguly in there, can deliver a lot and useful sometimes but who requires it all the time.

P.S- I posted this from my phone. And special thanks to my friend @kachuaChap from twitter who tweeted the title I used.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Will the same brand of justice ever be served in India?


I just couldn’t ignore the coincidence. In US, Rajaratnam was held guilty on all 14 counts of insider trading and back here in India we got the free for all access to Amar Prem Katha. And for the icing on top, I read a lot more about Niira Radia too. So as Rajaratnam is staring at 20 years in a federal prison, my question is will the same kind of justice ever be served in India?

Rajaratnam was no ordinary person, no. 236 on Forbes list of wealthiest people in US, richest Sri Lankan alive he rubbed shoulders with who’s who of Wall Street. He hired a team of one of the most expensive attorneys but contrary to what his peers in the hedge fund industry thought, he couldn’t escape conviction.

Back to India, how many big Corporates have we indicted? How many seen the inside of a jail and remained there? None expect for Raju (R another strange coincidence, Holy crap my name also begins with R) as far as I can remember. But what about other big shots who have been known to committing corporate crimes like Anil Ambani, Praful Patel etc.

The Niira Radia and Amar Singh tapes clearly reveals the nexus that is going on between corporate, politicians and even media now. These low life people are destroying and killing the Indian Dream when it is still in its infancy. All I have been seeing throughout the day has been mockery and cheap humour of both these tapes. But I am yet to see any action. I know many more like me think we can rise up the others and get noticed, but with tapes like this coming out don’t be ashamed of the route these people might take.

The last ray of hope we had was a unbiased media and a honest judiciary which has been literally stripped and is laughing back at us make me feel like a fool, a donkey. We dream of catching up with the West and all I can say is we are living in a fool’s paradise. We are bound to stay behind and will always be looked upon as the underprivileged, downtrodden ones unless we stand up, take notice, leave IPL for a moment and do something. I don’t know what that something can be or will be, but we will have to or let’s kill our dreams right now. I just ask one thing.

Will there ever be same justice irrespective of Caste, Creed, Domicile, Wealth or Political connections?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Sadness

Hadn’t it been for the sadness in the world, we wouldn’t have had some beautiful poetry. We wouldn’t have Shakespeare’s tragedies, Homer’s Iliad, Vikram Seth’s A Doctor's Journal Entry. Hadn’t it been for the sadness in the world, we wouldn’t have Happiness...................

That one again

When I was alone,
I feared it.
When you were gone,
I felt it.

But it came with such a pain,
That all went in vain.

I tried to cry,
But with these dry eyes,
How could I cry.

But I went on with the thought,
What upon me had I brought.

I had no answer,
And also none to seek one.
For I once again,
Became that one again.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Osama, Obama and Why a Terrorist?


Last week while going through my timeline on twitter, my brain crashed, went abruptly into a reboot and booting was only possible in safe mode. That meant going offline, disconnecting myself from all sources of media. But was that possible, yeah you all predicted right, it wasn’t. I was soon back online. Going through my timeline, flickering through web pages, looking at some, where it said Obama killed Osama and sometimes in pursuit of being fast, the other way around.

But it was a treat for the media and the twitter world. Both sections went abuzz. For media it was something they dream every day, a spectacle to be given proper coverage. So totally senseless articles such as TOI’s fictitious description of the Navy SEAL also made their way in, once again displaying new lows our Journalism has achieved. But apart from these a bigger question loomed.

I have always been confused, thinking about why people choose the path of becoming a terrorist. Everywhere one sees, it is said that a terrorist has no religion one country etc. But although the former one is very controversial, the latter one seems to have been found. Of late Pakistan has been seen as a country which not only shelters terrorism, but also is now the hub.

But all these things aside, again the same question rises how one can take the dramatic step, how can one be so brutal. Have we ever thought who is a terrorist and who is not or we choose what our media tells us to? I decided to take some help from a professor of ours. Professor Google. As I expected there is no internationally agreed definition. We all think a guy who spread terror is a Terrorist. Well if that is the case I have faced a lot of terrorists in my time at school and college. So as it is goes, it is up to a nation’s discretion or the big daddy controlled UN’s.

They say everyone part of the Al-Qaeda pledged allegiance to Osama himself. A guy who they thought lived in caves, away from the riches that he would have inherited. A guy who was a veteran of a war that saw the Soviets bite the dust. A guy who people thought has only one mission, to see the west go down. But was it that people chose to be a terrorist just because of that one guy. If it was so, then I guess we’ll soon witness the end of Al-Qaeda at least.

I decided to go some years back, some 30 years, when Punjab was under militancy. Another person having credentials of the same magnitude emerged there also. Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale was seen as a charismatic man, a man who revived a movement of extremism in Punjab. Whose only motive in the later part of his life was to have a separate Sikh state known as Khalistan, exactly on the lines of our beloved neighbour Pakistan. But then many horrifying incidents happened including Operation Blue Star, fake encounters killing many innocents and finally normalcy returned. Punjab was peaceful, En route to being prosperous again. What happened later, the politics is a different story although.

So I decided to do some thinking and came up with an answer. The reason a person chooses to be a Terrorist is the same why a person chooses to be a Cricketer or an Actor. They all get influenced by someone in that field. But then as I have a habit of contradicting myself, I couldn’t refrain from saying isn’t it those role models come after one has picked up a trade or is it really the other way around? Well this has one again left me scratching my head. If anyone of you readers have some theory please feel free to comment. For the moment let me scratch my head a bit more, I think I have some itching problem #$@)*%