Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Think!!

Have you ever realised how loosely this word is being used in today's environment? I think you should do this. I think you should not do that. I think this might have happened. I think you think. So what were you thinking? What do you think about it? And for that matter IBM claims its pads to be thinking(ThinkPad) as well.
How much do we actually think? and how much do we claim it?
Anyways that was just a passing thought. I saw this funny (or rather sarcastic) Fedex advertisement a few back, where this MBA guy has just joined the company and a lady comes to him on the first day to get something done. She takes him to a terminal and says that he needs to do some admin-staff work but it is all very simple. The guy resists back saying. "I am an MBA" and the lady looks a bit worried commenting, "Ohh! you have an MBA, in that case I have to show you how to do it.".
The message is loud and clear- "FedEx.com makes shipping so fast and easy- even an MBA can do it"


video

I think this is not something to laugh at but is a warning to act before it gets too late.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Dil Dosti etc.- A sensible movie

It is evident from my posts that I generally dont write many movie reviews but again like it happened as with Blood Diamond, I am deeply touched by the simplicity, by the screenplay and more importantly by the message conveyed by the movie. This time it is 'Dil Dosti etc.'.

I dont know how many would have even heard the name of this movie or even if heard how many would have seen. Further, even if seen, I doubt how many would have seen the value in the movie.

Introduction: The movie is simply about Politics and Sex! That's what those who have seen will tell you. My perspective is different. I believe the movie is about the values and the mindset of different economic castes.
The upper class believes in freelancing and living-in while the middle class believes strongly in values like trust, bond, love, relationship. However, I do not comment anything on what is correct and what is not. Neither did the movie. I neither comment on which one is better. Nor did the movie. It just brings out these aspects in a very touchy and emotional setup. The movie also seems to be following my line of thought that nothing is wrong and it is the perspective which makes it right or wrong. The story teller tells it as a high class individual but more from a middle class perspective. (which ensures it doesnt touches any of those extremes)

About the Story: There is not much in the story as such. The story revolves around two individuals: One from a very rich family in Delhi, who has only one ambition in life - SEX and other from a middle class (or may be lower middle class--The whole point being not a rich/upper class) family from Bihar who wants to become student council president and may be join politics. Thanks to the ragging in campus, these two get into a friendship and the rich guy ends up helping the other in election campaigning. The middle class person tried preaching his values to the high class dude and ended up challenging him to have Sex thrice in a day before the elections. With self-respect at stake, both sincerely get set to their missions.
In the meantime, the middle class guy also finds a love(as likely to be used by upper class people) in a high class babe who aspires to be a model in recent future. The conflicts in their thinking are apparent as well.
Finally, the movie ends with guy from Delhi having sex with Bihari's girlfriend(third sex on the day of election), which meant nothing to the two high class people but meant his life to the middle class guy from Bihar. The poor guy had even lost the meaning and excitement of having won the election.

Plus: Smooth Story telling, No major breaks as such, Songs much into the story line of the movie, No explicit content (Plus from middle class point of view, although may be minus from upper class point of view [:P]), Good screen play, Decent pace, No preachings, Overall Well executed

Minus: Nothing much into story, No well recognised stars(although acted well), Somewhere between a commercial and an arts movie.


Recommendation: Recommended for people who like to watch movies that make some sense, that give some message. If you liked 'Hazaaron Khwahishein Aisi', you are quite likely to like this movie as well.
Additional Remarks: Not many movies impress me enough to write a review for.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Will luck ever start favouring me?

I dont know why is it so but it has been always like this. The luck factor, which goes in favour of so many at so many times, doesn't seem to have a very good relation with me. If it happens just once or twice, it is fine but why the h*ll always!
The last time I remember I rode high on luck was more than 3 years back when I survived after an accident with oil tanker on National Highway 2. Since then, it has been a long run of bad luck. I thought it might end sometime soon but that has not happened yet.
I dont know how to vent this frustration out coz even venting out frustration has had some serious implications on me at times!
Avoiding to write the circumstances that led me to write this, I conclude it wishing the situation to improve soon but again that would be really very optimistic of me.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Sample CV -- Must Read!

PS: I dint write it but really liked this creative piece of work. By putting it on my blog, I do not intend to claim any ownerships, hurt any feelings. Please to inform if anyone considers it to be breaching IPR in any sense.

________________________________________________________________________________


C. V. Manoranjan J. (007/99)
stud_iimc@hotmale.com

Academic

  • Wrote mid term, end term and two class tests, qualified for the 75% attendance requirement to take the end term in H.R.M class
  • 90% attendance record in Finacc tutes (for two tutors)
  • Consistent academic performance in 3rd, 5th and 7th std (half-yearly)
  • Second highest grade in the ProdMan re-exam
  • Bid for a course under one of the leading profs in Asia
  • Appeared for IIT-JEE, CET etc
  • Top ranked in the lower third of my branch in Engineering
  • IEPH mid-term section topper
Other achievements

  • Recruited by Goldman Sachs during the Placement Con
  • Received conduct cert of “fair” after high school
  • Won paper dance (solo) contest in Intaglio’2001, 1st prize in Govinda party

Sports


  • Head, Gaali team Creative Verbalization and Support squad, XL-IIMCmeet 2001
  • Scored the solitary goal basket, in the WH vs NH basketball match duringWW
  • Co-passenger with Steve Waugh on Jet 2W409, 20th May 1996


Dramatics


  • Supporting artist in NH skit for WW parade. Selected from among 100 students to play a prominent mythological character.
  • Part of the laugh track for Hum Paanch
  • Have been part of shows like Movers & Shakers
  • Featured twice in a row on MTV Bakra


Music


  • Lead tambourine player, Baro-C & JBS
  • Member, organizing team, badla party
  • Second prize, solo singing, Informalz
  • Lead singer, anthem, Baro-C nite


Publications


  • Largest number of entries in paper contests
  • Authored numerous articles on BlueBoard, Courseweb and IPMSG
  • Provided key creative inputs for the oath for Stats tutor Sec C
  • Have had my letters published in agony aunt columns on Cosmo, Femina and Grihashobha


Leadership initiatives


  • Coordinator, east wing dunking squad, mahamishti
  • Contested elections for Wing-rep
  • Chief fetcher for Lehman Brothers and Murugappa Group, Final Placements2002
  • Chief client, LANsquad
  • Associate under secretary, FOSLA, W400s IIMC chapter


Interests


  • Reading habits: Telegraph etc, India today last page
  • Musical tastes: classic rock n’ roll such as Jimmy Hendricks, Bob Dillon etc.
  • Skiing, whitewater rafting, mountaineering and skinny dipping


Consultancy experience


  • Provided ad hoc management consultancy to a leading retailer on the Joka campus
  • All other projects under contracts of non-disclosure


Thursday, October 04, 2007

My first Consulting assignment

I really appreciate the fact that generally I know in advance my priorities. Same was the case when I had applied for clubs @ IIM-C.
I did not want to get into organising things, building Knowledge Management(loosely used for Database updations), etc. and wanted to do some real work. I stated this clearly to the club-recruiters at the time of interviews and was probably the reason that no club had accepted my applications till INCA found me worthy.

Day before yesterday, I went to the organisation "Sundarika Bartika" where I (as a part of team of 4) would be providing consultancy services (another fancy name for helping organisations expand/grow/ solve their problems). It was around 40 K.m.s from the campus and frankly the drive to that place was really painful, with potholes of different shapes and sizes covering around 40% of the road. But the excitement of being involved with something big (not organisationwise but rolewise) was enough to keep me focussed.
We were received pretty nicely. Although we were on time, the founder of the organisation was waiting for us. The treatment we received there cannot be explained in words. We were treated as experts in every field, especially the one that was discussed and I must confess that I had no clue of the topic under discussion for more than half of the discussion. At times, he talked of certain personalities and expected us to know all about them, when both of us were sitting wondering whether we have heard the name or not. I remember 'rephrasing his words and telling that as answer to him' had to be done a number of times.

I must also confess that although it was good to have such a recognition and respect, I felt guilty at times. A person who is running an organisation for past 25 years is treating me as if I am his boss!! Sounds good but is intimidating at times.

Anyways I think it qualifies well as an experience to cherish and I am proud of having made correct decision of being choosy w.r.t. joining clubs

Since the time I visited the organisation, I only have one question bothering me...Do I really deserve so much respect? Lets see, time will surely provide an answer.

Blood Diamonds

It is not a new movie but I had not seen it then.
I had heard a lot about it but watching it was really a different experience.

"Sierra Leone,1999
Civil war rages for control of the diamond fields.
Thousands have died and Millions have become refugees.
None of whom has ever seen a diamond."

The people are innocent. They have never seen a diamond. To them, it is just another white piece of stone but they are still being killed for it. Children are doped and trained to take lives...to help fighting in struggle for motherland!! (something which is already yours!) All foreigners are our enemies!!(Is there any rational at all!)
And all this just to make some money..OK a lot of money.. but is it still worth the cause!! On one hand we claim of distributive effect of money (poor benefits from rich getting richer) and this is what rich do to get more richer!!

Greed is such a vice that it can make any rational human being do such pathetic acts.

I appreciate the director/producer's effort to bring up the issue to public..and I agree to my friend's words, "Movies are biggest source of learning after Reading".

The closing message of the movie was not just a mere consolation but also a warning. This needs to be stopped..at least for the sake of humanity.

"In January 2003, forty nations signed "The Kimberley Process"--an effort to stem the flow of conflict diamonds.
But illegal diamonds still find their way to market.
It is up to the consumer to insist that a diamond is conflict-free.
Sierra Leone is at peace.
But there are still 200,000 child soldiers in Africa"
Stop smuggling Blood Diamonds.
Stop selling Blood Diamonds.
Stop buying Blood Diamonds.

I suggest Ban the company even if a single case in this regard is reported..The world wont be any different without the Diamonds but the presence of diamonds is making such a big difference!!

Monday, October 01, 2007

Enlightenment by Prof. Sunil Handa

Prof. Sunil Handa(SH) from IIM-Ahmedabad visited IIM-Calcutta recently and I had an opportunity to attend one of his sessions. Considering the fact that I am myself a bit oriented to start something of my own, I liked the session. One may argue that most of the points these people (entrepreneurs) talk about are just the same .. hmm.. may be.. but there is a lot to make a difference. One good point may change your outlook drastically and something similar happened to me after this session.

On Exit options:
The session started with example of one of his student from IIM-Ahmedabad who had started a company of his own but had recently decided to sell it off!! Prof. claimed that this guy sold his soul.
As per SH, there is no exit option for an entrepreneur and he outrightly rejected the idea of selling a venture after say 5 years of establishing it. I had been fascinated by the idea of creating and selling off a business before restructuring period (I believe after some 5-6 years, processes etc. in a business need to be restructured coz by this time others also find it worthy to get into it..so selling off at this point would mean avoiding the restructuring cost and efforts, which can be further used in setting up something else, plus you get a healthy deal for current business at such a time). Although SH was of different opinion and he commented that
1.) One tends to get an emotional bonding with the current business,
2.) Rarely do people start a second venture as they get too old by the time they plan to sell off first one
3.) Even is one gets past the emotional bonding and timing factor, one tends to lose good people. You may plan to switch over your business (coz that is your business) but the employees may not be ready to take that risk and would be resistant to change.

This made me think of the establish-and-sell philosophy again, especially the third point which is most crucial as what i think. Anyways, I need to evaluate that well.

On VCs:
"So, what would you do once you sell off your venture?"
"I would start a new one" is a typical answer. How many do you think do that? Hardly anyone, SH claimed. The factors include the social pressures and the family responsibilities. Add to it reduced appetite for risk as you grow old.
"If you quit your own child(company), you will end up being only an uncle(Venture Capitalist), where you will just guide and help and wish other's children(ventures you fund) do well. Most of their(VC's) days go in praying for other's ventures to get successful"

On Diluting Equity:
"If you wish to start a business, do you need a lot of money or you may as well get it from Venture Capitalists?"
If you think you may start a business by borrowing money from VCs, you probably need to relook at the mathematics of doing so. If you succeed, you will end up paying hefty premiums and if you fail, you may still end up paying more than the Principal amount!! Then how does it make any economic sense..
Those who still might be thinking of it being useful, I suggest reading the post on session by Mahesh Murthy.

Assertiveness, Struggle, No shy factor:
"When I used to travel in Public roadways buses, I used to end up traveling most of the times standing. Then I realised this is not how it gonna work and I learnt the art of finding and making space to sit. I started asking people to shift even if there was no place and most of the times ended up getting some place to sit.- That was my first lesson into entrepreneurship" I learned to be assertive. I struggled and I was no longer shy of asking for place.
This is what is required to establish a business. If you think everything will just go right, it wont.. you need to make it right.

Impact of Contacts in Initial Phase:
Another way of getting initial success is a shortcut- to use your contacts. But as soon as you use contacts to get any favour, you lose the race. Nothing comes for free in this world!! If you ask for a favour today, you'll be asked to repay in some form or other tomorrow and it wont end there. Since you got a favour in initial days of struggle, you would feel indebted for long and you would have to make compromises at some point due to these favours/contacts/people/..

Struggle in Initial Phase:
So the alternate way is to struggle!! People, if given option, would love to skip this part but this is most important phase one goes through and this is the phase that basically lays the foundation for rest of the career.
There was a bird, which was trying to come out of the egg-shell. She was fluttering her wings and trying desperately to break the shell. A man walking beside saw this and out of his genuine concern and care, broke the egg-shell with a knife. The man was happy as he thought he had done a good job, helping the bird out of the shell. The bird, on the other hand, could never fly in her life coz her wings were just not strong enough to fly.
It is not difficult to understand why the bird could never fly!! So you decide by yourself whether you want to break the shell yourself or do you want an external support!!

Upto-date Info of Related and Unrelated streams:
It is not uncommon in people to stop reading/analysing once they get success. However, SH suggested that one should always keep the habit of reading and be knowledgeable about things related directly or indirectly or not even related to his/her business. This is helpful when one needs to adopt methodologies/techniques/benefits from outside the business. He took an example of his own venture which in no way related to plastic industry, and he could make a benefit of a few lakhs using that. I dont remember the example exactly and it would not be appropriate to quote it wrong but it was something on the lines that huge amount of excise and tax could be saved by purchasing a machinery in parts due to differential tax rates for plastic and other material.
The essence of the point was that one must keep himself up-to date on different topics, regardless of whether they are directly influencing your business or not. Who knows when they come handy!!

On Consultants:
To keep it short, I just quote his words,"Consultants are people who wont tell you anything unless asked, even if they know something is going wrong!!"
Without having any first hand knowledge of this, I think it is difficult for me to make up any perception based on this point.

On Ethics:
Everyone claims ethics in business are very important but no one spells it so clearly!! Everyone talks of setting an example in front of juniors but no one says how exactly it makes a difference. He took example of a manufacturer trying to save some tax amount by manipulating accounts and stealthily selling some of the goods. The same person ends up pursuing his employees so that the news is not leaked publicly and in case that happens..Brand Image tarnishes!!
Precisely why people do not feel proud in saying that they work in Reliance!!

Skills One must Learn at IIMs:
Leadership skills
Negotiating skills
Delegating skills

On Partnership:
Reiterating what MM said, SH also said it is better to have partners for the moral and support and better to start in smaller teams. A larger team is bound to fail. Although, he discarded that the two partners need to be good friends from college days and things like that. According to him, a better team would have people with only some understanding of each other. More understanding may result in you taking other for granted, which might not be the case always. But still, more the understanding between partners the better it is.
Idea or partner?
An idea is worth nothing unless implemented, said MM.
Unless you have a good partner, it is difficult to succeed in a venture, said SH.
Clearly both of them had an emphasis of a good partner first, someone who is equally, if not more, passionate about the venture.
Moreover, SH made a claim that no one would be working on their first idea for long, no matter how attractive it may seem to them in starting. It is only the third or fourth idea that people end up doing!

Not to forget,
Irrespective of what you may think, the partnership doesnt last forever and which sometimes may be an emotionally testing times but that is how it is!!

To end with a globe statement, you need 'Midas touch' to succeed in a business more than anything else.

"To get an extraordinary person is difficult but to make ordinary people extraordinary is simple.": Some great philosopher.

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