Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Trip to Delhi, Noida , Meerut and the Re.1 Air Ticket

After quite some time close to 45 days, I got an opportunity to spend my weekend out of my hometown. This was a dream break actually for me. The purpose of this break was to attend Souveer’s wedding. He is the first one in our batch of 2003-2005 of TAPMI to get married and with his marriage I believe the wedding season for quite a number of them has began.

I took leave on Friday from the office which is no big deal keeping in mind the work I have. Also the highlight of this trip is my Re. 1 ticket. You are right and I have not mistyped in any way. Re 1 Air Ticket courtesy one and only Air Deccan. It was a great moment when I got the Re 1 ticket because I had booked the earlier ticket for Rs. 3995 so this comes out to be dirt-cheap. The flight was at morning 6:00 am so the last night’s sleep was reduced to only 3.5 hours keeping in mind my daily schedule of sleep.

In the flight, close to my seat there was a lady sitting. She should be in her 60s, as I believe. She was part of the marriage party, which was traveling from Hyderabad to Delhi, but she was unaware of the price of the ticket. So she did the mistake of asking me the price of the ticket and when I told her that it is Re. 1, she went into a shock. I thought she would get heartache there but somehow she controlled the excitement. The journey was smooth, the flight being an AIRBUS unlike an ATR, which Deccan usually operates in other routes.

I reached Delhi at 7:40 itself 10 minutes before the scheduled time of 7:50. View of Lotus Temple from a very high elevation was very good. The autowallahs of Delhi are not better than the Chennai autowallahs because the Chennai ones are really worst of all. I believed one autowallah and asked him to drop me to bus stop where I can catch a bus to Noida. But this crooked autowallah dropped me in RK Puram which was close to 7 Km from Nehru Place where I will get the buses to Noida. So after waiting for close to 45 minutes in RK Puram, I asked one gentleman about the bus to Noida. Pat came the reply: No buses from here go to Nehru Place and catch from there. So I took the bus to Nehru place and then from there got into a Bus to Noida making another mistake here. I did not remember the sector which shetty said to me and just got into the bus asking him whether it would go to Sector 26 or not. The bus drivers in Delhi have this problem. Even if your stop is close to 2 KM from the place where from the bus passes, the bus conductor will tell you that he is going to drop you exactly the place you want to get down to. So somehow after struggling for close to 1 hour in the bus, I got down at Kailash Hospital and met shetty and then reached his house.

Shetty’s flat is good much better when compared to the flats of the rest of my batchmates. In the afternoon then we had the delicious lunch typical Delhi types. I slept in the afternoon for about 2.5 hours and in the evening then Raj and Venkat joined us. We had booked a Taxi to Meerut. We started our journey to Meerut at about 6:25 from Noida. It took us close to 3.5 hours to cover the 67 Km stretch, which is by all standards very high even in the worst of the traffic jams. The main trouble was to locate the hall in the town. Somehow we managed to reach the hall and met both Shanbag and Tandon for the first time after Convocation.

Souveer’s Marriage was one big event. The food was exquisite covering all the possible varieties one can think about. Right from Chat Items, Dosas, Variety of Curries, Rice Items and Desserts, it had all the ingredients to satisfy anyone. We did not have dinner to the extent we should have had but then it was all about meeting Souveer rather than having food or drinks. The marriage ended at about 2:30 am in the morning and Souveer looked very much satisfied and elated. We started back for Noida from Meerut due to some unforeseen events and reached Noida at about 3:55 AM. The weather was really cold out there; temperature was in single digit as far as I could make out. Then the baker session was on for us from 4:00 till 6:00 and then we slept at about 6:15 in the morning. Fully tired.

In the morning we went out to have the staple breakfast of Delhi. Chole bature. Oh god they were amazing really. The last time I had Chole Bature was in April 2004. So this was a good break for me. In the late morning also some good news landed for me. Afternoon we went to the Noida Market for some time pass. Had lunch at McDonalds.

Evening I started back for the NDLS from Noida and saw the majestic structure of Akshardham Temple. The site was magnificent and really pleasing to the eyes. The train’s departure was at the scheduled time but the rush was too much. My co-passengers were carrying so much of luggage that it literally blocked the way to get out of that cabin. The characters in the compartment were really fascinating and describing them here would take pages. Notable was the 7th class school going kid. He ensured all the 25 hours of the journey that no one is able to sit on his Window seat and his mother, do not even ask.

This trip goes as one of the most memorable ones in the recent past.

Friday, November 25, 2005


The hitech culture of IT industry can give rise to any type of jargon even in our everyday life. I was not knowing that Business As Usual is called as BAU till I joined Polaris. EOD refers to end of day but there is nothing called as SOD. Perhaps the reason being that people prefer EOD more than SOD in any company.

The title of this post is a composite word which comes from two normal english words widely heard in our circle. By now one must have guessed the two words. The first one is Restaurant and the second one is Pub. So stylishly the word has been formed as Restopub. This actually refers to a place which happens to be a restaurant as well as a pub.

Today we went for lunch to a place called as Twister near HiTech City here in Madhapur. There I spotted this trendy name "RESTOPUB". Ofcourse the inside environment does not really look like a restaurant at all by any standards. The place was ideal for drinks only and not for having food as I see it.

Ofcourse one must look at the crowd on a friday afternoon in any one of these restaurants. One cannot get a table without waiting for close to an hour atleast. The crowd consists of people belonging to all the top notch IT companies situated in that area. For the matter of fact those are the set of people the restaurant targets. The age group between 21-25 which is extremely cash rich just like their companies. A normal buffet cost close to Rs. 160 which is much higher by any standards.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Race for Perfection has no Finish Line

As the time change, numerous things change. We all move in a sine wave fashion seeing the ups and downs in our lives. Sometimes good things come first and not so good things come after that. But at certain point in time bad things come first and then the good things start surfacing out slowly. In these situations its our level of perseverance which can help us come out of it. Thinking that problems are really problems and there cannot be any solution to these is a thought which can take one no where excepting near failure.

The desire to succeed is there in every individual whether he is a school going child or a CEO of a multinational. This desire to succeed actually fires the imagination in us and allows us to perform the impossible sometimes. Impossible is nothing. I believe very firmly in this phrase. With dedication, determination, integrity and a strong will one can achieve anything in his/her life. The passion for excellence stimulates the thought process producing extraordinary results. This passion for excellence is the key to success.

A positive attitude towards life is one of the foremost step's one needs to keep in mind before really moving forward to achieve something. A negative attitude towards anything in life will never help us. Positive attitude coupled with a focused thought towards learning new things in life is what the leaders say over and over again.

Perfection has no limits. One can improve ones skill over and over again. There is no point when one can say that "yes I am there" and "I have arrived". A zeal to perform better over and over again is what the race for perfection is all about. What is takes to come out as a High Performer is not a simple job. Endless efforts, single minded dedication towards the goal and close attention to the details make you stand out of the crowd.

A High Performer stands out in a set of people. Whether it is an organization, sports or politics, a high performer sets standards for others to follow and provides a way to others. This high performance comes in after lot of efforts. A high performer is a high growth individual for the organization who can help it to go places and ensure that the competitive advantage of organization sustains in the long term.

It takes a ton to prove oneself but once proven it takes a double ton to keep up that reputation and stature. In an ever changing and highly competitive scenario only a distinct individual with the characteristics of high performer will survive. Setting limits to one self would only restrict the growth of the individual and thereby the performance.

Set unmatchable standards. Think beyond the obvious. Put precision in work. Bring quality to life. Stretch yourself. Exceed the limits. Have the passion for excellence. And. Contribute to your growth.


The Race for Perfection has no Finish Line.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Peter Drucker is no more

One of the foremost management thinkers in the business community, Peter Drucker is no more. He was 95. Being a management student, I heard of Peter Drucker in two contexts, Marketing and Strategy.

Peter Drucker ideas deeply shaped the way business community used to work and modern corporation used to run. Known as the father of modern management died out of prolonged illness.

In his life time Peter Drucker authored close to 35 books on management which became hall mark among the management community. The landmark ones are : The concept of the corporation (1946), The Practice of Management (1954) and The effective executive (1964). These became standard at the business schools throughout the world and serve as a standard reference for any one aiming to understand strategy.

He emphasized that, rather than being a machine, the modern corporation was an organization of human beings whose management and interaction are crucial to the business' success.
That and subsequent books garnered Drucker a reputation as a "futurist" in the business world, a person who read before anyone else the trends and needs of business and the economy.

Peter Drucker coined the term "Knowledge Worker" about a decade back and said that these are the people who will be at the forefront of any organization and contribute to its success. Also the term "Management by Objectives" coined by him took a front seat when deciding control systems for an organization in the 21st century.

In the early 1950s, when other business leaders figured the worldwide market for computers was in the single digits, he predicted that computer technology would thoroughly transform business. In 1961, he alerted his followers to the rise of Japan as an industrial power, and two decades later, he warned of its impending economic stagnation. In 1997, he predicted a backlash to burgeoning executive pay, saying, "In the next economic downturn, there will be an outbreak of bitterness and contempt for the super-corporate chieftains who pay themselves millions."

To sum it up Mckinsey Quarterly described Peter Drucker as the management guru to whom other gurus kowtow.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Credit Card vs. Debit Card

This post is dedicated to a topic on which I was planning to put down my thoughts for quite some time. But again due to lack of time and other more interesting stories, I could not pen it down. The interest to write on this topic also increased when I saw this particular question in the Open Spaces column of Times of India.
We will begin with the basic definition of a debit card. A debit card is a ISO 7810 card which physically resembles a credit card, and, like a credit card, is used as an alternative to cash when making purchases. However, when purchases are made with a debit card, the funds are withdrawn directly from the purchaser's bank account. A debit card is generally of two types - offline debit card which requires signature while you are paying and an online debit card which requires a separate keypad at the point of sale where one inputs the Debit pin number. Let us look at the advantages of a debit card
  • An easy and hassle free way of paying without usage of cash
  • No need of any cheques etc.
  • Convenient way of withdrawing money from ATM at any point of time at any place
  • Protects one from any kind of cheque defaults or any frauds
  • Ensures payment guarantee to the counterparty

A credit card is a ISO 7810 standard card similar to a debit card in size and shape. Credit card system is a type of retail transaction settlement and credit system, named after the small plastic card issued to users of the system. A credit card is different from a debit card in that the credit card issuer lends the consumer money rather than having the money removed from an account. This means that one gets the funds for a certain period of time which is known as the credit period. The account does not get debited as it happens in case of a debit card.

Now let us look at some of the advantages of a credit card

  • A very safe alternative to cash just like a debit card
  • No need of any cash in your wallet
  • Helps to deal with emergency situations when you do not have enough funds in your account
  • Short term credit instrument and allows to withdraw money from any ATMs as designated on the credit card
  • Allows better utilization of money in terms of placing it in a more profitable place
  • A normal credit period of 50 days for any amount depending on the individual. This allows us to pay back the money at a later period of time.

If we look at the general view of people in India about credit cards, its very biased. In terms of plastic money credit cards were introduced much before the debit or ATM cards came into picture. Usually a credit card is considered to be a dangerous instrument to use by many people looking at the current scenario and the cases which are running because of the credit card frauds in the courts.

Credit card as presented above is not a sweet pill to take. It involves lot of other addendum to it which people may overlook while in a hurry to get one. Some of the them are the Annual Fee, the Life Insurance premium which is coming with all the cards now and other taxes etc. Its also important to study the credit card monthly statement which also involves a catch with it. Normally if we spend let us say 10000 in a month and then the statement comes with all our transactions, there is a small heading at the end which says minimum payment due. This is generally 5 % of the total transaction amount. If we pay up only this amount by the due date and do not pay the rest, then 2.95 % finance charge will be levied on the rest of the amount. This makes the finance charge of close to 36 % per annum and is by all standards very high. This is one main point we need to keep in mind while transacting using a credit card. Another one is the cheque bounce. Once your cheque bounces for a credit card payment, it becomes very difficult than to transact on the card. But with the help of internet banking the need for cheque seems to be going away.

Having said all the above, here is the parting shot. Credit card can be your maker or breaker depending on the way you use it. What you choose to do with it is entirely up to you. Tempting as it might be, there is a huge downside to credit card, which is you OWE money to someone else! And if you know you can't pay back what you owe, don't pay in the first place. There is nothing like buying what you want with your honest hard earned money. At the end of the day those are the things that make you smile because they are truly yours.

Monday, November 07, 2005


Miss: What r u doing today?

Mr. : Me just figuring out what to do now no mood of working yaar

Miss: When r u in a good mood?

Mr. : I am have become very finicky now these days, one day I will be in a nice mood the other day everything goes away and I try to start from scratch

Miss: now its u who has become unpredictable

Mr. : perhaps after becoming your friend the side effects will come

Miss: that’s a nice way to pass on the blame

Mr. : obviously I was not like this some time ago

Miss: oh?? Then u mean to say that I am responsible for your present state??

Mr. : I never said that. The situations around me make me behave in such a manner

Miss: I think that u have a negative approach to things and that even small setbacks affect you a lot

Mr. : yes you are on the dot. Very small things can literally shatter my confidence and thoughts

Miss: Thats bad. Because people have setbacks. All the time you can’t keep brooding on them and let one small thing affect other more important things in life

Mr. : perhaps I am trying to fight this out somehow but do not know when it will go

Miss: first of all you have to stop thinking that you are responsible for whatever is happening in your life. There are certain things beyond our control. Accept it and try to react normally to setbacks

Mr. : but what does normally mean should we not bother about them or what

Miss: bothering is something that everyone does. But one setback isn’t the end of life. You will always have a lot of other opportunities coming your way. So be positive.

Mr. : My only problem is the way I look at the things if they do not work out I think I have not done perfectly and I am useless

Miss: the first thing that u need to understand is no one is perfect and no one gets everything that he/she wants form life

Mr. : I am not asking for everything but what I deserve that's it nothing more but nothing less also the Judgment is perhaps wrong in thinking what I deserve

Miss: there is nothing wrong in having ambitions. But you should be able to understand that if everyone got What he wanted then there would be no problems at all in this world.

Mr. : probably u r right sometimes I think I am too ambitious is it wrong

Miss: there is nothing wrong in being ambitious. Every person is ambitious. In fact I believe you need to have ambitions to survive. But the attitude that it’s the end of the world if you are not able to fulfill one of them is wrong. you know you have the ability then you bother about small things???

Mr. : yes, I have started doubting my abilities now actually which is a new fear

Miss: why such a doubt???

Mr. : well there are a few things, which I am not able to achieve off late

Miss: may be u r worrying about the irrelevant things

Mr. : do not know yaar leave it I am worrying you too much with my thoughts

Miss: negative thoughts wont do you any good. I guess u need to come out of this

Mr. : ok how do I do that?

Miss: that’s not for me to suggest. I cannot make you do that. First of all you need to decide that
you won’t be bothered too much about setbacks. Accept that its normal for everyone to have some and one main thing that you need to remind yourself is that no one is perfect. That doesn’t mean that you should lower your targets for yourself but be more realistic about life.

Mr. : sounds good yaar nice one

Miss: that was not for getting compliments from u.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

My iPod

Well my quest for gadgets continues. Here is the photo of my new iPod or should I call it a vPod. It’s a fifth generation iPod that can play videos as well and has a LCD screen unlike the older versions. The older versions of iPod spot a black screen just like a Nokia 3310 whereas the new versions like the fifth generation iPod spot a color screen just like Nokia 7610.

The first generation of iPod could play only music. Then the 3rd and the 4th generation had the option of viewing photos. With the option of video also added, iPod becomes a true multimedia device with all the options one can ask for.

As a precursor, I thought of putting some stuff on iPod also. So here it is. iPod is a brand of portable digital audio and video player designed and marketed by Apple Computer. Devices in the iPod family offer a simple user interface designed around a central scroll wheel. Most iPod models store media on a built-in hard drive, while the smaller iPod shuffle and iPod nano use flash memory. Like most digital audio players, an iPod can serve as an external data storage device when connected to a computer.

The bundled software used for uploading music and photos to the iPod is called iTunes. iTunes is a music 'jukebox' application that stores a comprehensive library of the music on a computer, as well as playing and ripping it. The most recent incarnations of iPod , that is the vPod and iTunes have video playing and organization features.

The reason why Apple attaches an “i” before each of its product range is the positive effect which the company is experiencing on its sales. Media has named it the igeneration of products which they say will have far reaching effect on the culture.

Well my iPod is a 30 GB capacity which can play mp3, aac,wav and other normal formats of music but not the real media format. In terms of video there is real big problem with iPod. It supports the following formats only:

H.264 video
File formats: .m4v, .mp4 and .mov
Video: Up to 768 Kbps, 320 x 240 pixels, 30 frames per second, Baseline Profile up to
Level 1.3
Audio: AAC-LC up to 160 Kbps, 48 KHz, stereo audio

MPEG-4 video
File formats: .m4v, .mp4 and .mov
Video: Up to 2.5 Mbps, 480 x 480 pixels, 30 frames per second, Simple Profile Audio: AAC-LC up to 160 Kbps, 48 KHz, stereo audio

I know above would be bouncers for all but that is the only format iPod supports. QuickTime 7.0.3 converts the normal videos into iPod videos but takes close to 1 hour for converting a 6 MB movie file. But the quality is very good on par with the DVD video. I think the problem of video conversion needs to be resolved at the earliest to ensure that vPod kicks.
The fifth generation iPod is about 40 times thinner than the original 4th generation iPod.

Some history about iPOD. Tony Fadell first conceived the iPod outside Apple. When he demonstrated his idea to Apple, the company hired him as an independent contractor to bring his project to the market, putting him in charge of assembling the team that developed the first two generations of the device. Apple's Industrial Design Group, working under the direction of Jonathan Ive designed the subsequent incarnations.

Apple originally released the iPod on October 23, 2001 as a Mac-compatible product, but the company later released a format compatible with Microsoft Windows, before finally releasing a Windows version of the iTunes software that updates the iPod. As of October 2004, iPod dominated digital music player sales in the United States, with over 90% of the market for hard-drive-based players and over 70% of the market for all types of players. The iPod has sold at a tremendous rate, now past 30 million units in about four years. Apple has posted that the iPod has a "halo effect", encouraging users of non-Apple products to switch to other Apple products, such as to Macintosh computers

All in all iPod is worth its value. The vPod was released in India on 26th of October but I got it from USA on 25th itself where it was released on 15th and was being sold at the normal iPod price of $299. The sound clarity, the picture quality and the Apple click wheel really give the feeling that yes iPOD is worth the money.

Well if any one is looking for a mobile mp3 player do not go for any thing else like the mp3 players in mobile phones or other mp3 players. Nothing can beat iPod. Just nothing.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Google Your Career

Google was started by two geeky youngsters from Stanford University -- its beginning is legendary. I heard it from Silicon Valley venture capitalist Ram Shriram. Shriram had made his fortune working with start-ups like Junglee and Netscape. Thereafter, he decided to become an angel investor. On one of his visits to Stanford to catch up with professor Jeff Ullman, he met the two Google co-founders. The professor told Shriram that he should be backing these two young men. Despite the existence of the concept of internet-based search engines, there was something unusual here. Shriram and Andy Bechtolsheim, co-founder of Sun, were willing to listen to the professor and took out their cheque books. It was then that everyone realised that the two youngsters did not even have a company name, much less a bank account. On the spot, they thought of the name 'Google' and Shriram filled the 'to payee' column accordingly. The rest is history. Google became a great IPO success, is meeting profit projections and has already become a Wall Street darling. I like the way the company raised itself to industry leadership. I think it has huge lessons for working professionals who could take a leaf or two from the Google story to build their own careers.

To begin with, Google built itself on a solid value proposition and took a uniquely differentiated position. It provided value to the world before demanding any value for itself. It served until the world became dependent on it. It created value by meeting the unstated needs of unseen customers. That is a sure way, though a more difficult one, to win. It did not fear incumbency. So what if there were established large players who could have eaten Google for breakfast? Finally, Google persevered. It wasn't an overnight success story. These are elements that build memorable professional careers as well. But wait, I haven't told you the real secret sauce of their success, yet.

Google started as a search engine. You typed in keywords and it looked through millions of pages all over the world's far-flung servers and reported what matched your needs. As time went by, they tried to make the search process more intelligent, more intuitive. They did not stop with that. When millions of people came to them with their search queries, they added the now famous 'gmail' to their basket of products -- virtually unlimited storage, with no need to delete anything, more intuitive organisation of all your communication needs. What next at Google? I meet industry analysts who tell me that the next great wave of computing could come in the form of 'service on demand' from Google. You want to process your payroll? You want to print invoices and file tax returns? You want to manage your inventory? You will probably just go to Google and use any of these applications for a fraction of what it costs to own a software that does these sorts of things today. This may or may not turn out to be the state of the future. But, what is undeniable is the fact that Google will remain a force to contend with in the days ahead.

Now think of your career and mine. If we can be compared to Google, the question becomes, what new value have you and I added of late? I meet many folks who started out in sales, and have grown up over time to manage larger territories and bigger accounts. I meet engineers who started in production or information systems or planning, and kept growing in a linear manner 'managing' essentially more of the same as years went by. Will this model work in the future? The answer is a short 'no'.

We may all choose to become a generalist, a specialist, remain an individual professional contributor, be a manager or a leader or whatever else we want. But in any of those, one must be sure to question periodically, "What new service offering do I have to offer to the world around me? Do I deliver it after someone has asked for it or am I pre-investing in building the capability?" Just as Google needs to create new value for its users constantly, as professionals, we can't just be the best search engine and stay put. People who just continue to deliver the same good old stuff, cease to be interesting to the world around them after a while. I like people to look at their careers as five-year spans. Every five-year span is usually populated by two major assignments.

Usually, we think of these assignments in terms of roles, job-descriptions, responsibilities, span of control, location and of course, compensation. It is time to take a leaf out of Google's book. We need, periodically, to do a Google to our careers to create unusual new value and stay the favourite.

"This article appeared in Business Times Oct 28, 2005. Its written by Subroto Bagchi, Co-founder and chief operating officer at Mind Tree Consulting. "

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Happy Diwali

Today is diwali. Festival of lights. A Beginning of a new year for the businessmen. After a gap of nearly 2 years I am celebrating diwali at home. The last two years in TAPMI were different kind of diwali and not the typical one which you will experience at home or perhaps somewhere else. It used to happen in Boat Club and usually ended up being other party. I need not mention what kind of party it turned out to be.

I have made a special greeting for this occasion which I have sent to my near and dear. I wish all the people around me, My parent's, relatives, colleagues, Engg friends, TAPMI batchmates, My Guru (Prof. S Subrahamaniyam), faculty at TAPMI and ofcourse my newly found friends at Polaris, A Very Happy Diwali and a prosperous new year.