Chaotic Solitude

Inside every (wo)man there is always an urge to find a structure in Chaos !

Sunday, August 31, 2003

What happened ?!@#$%
Something seems to have gone wrong with my comments link. It just doesn't appear at all. May be ennetation.com got irritated by my whinings on lack of comments in my blog site:-(
Any ideas on what would have happened ? Please use the zonkboard on the left navigation bar to post your trouble-shooting tips. Danke!
Fluffy Strategy!

Ah! Just completed a couple of major exams this quarter. This has been one of the toughest quarters:-( But we did some of the best subjects one can do in a B-school. I will write about other subjects later. But for now I would like to blog only about this course called -"Advanced Studies in Strategic Management" (ASM).

Any B-school student will get the so-called "kick" when he/she hears the word "Strategy". It is the dream of every prospective Manager and B-school student to do "Strategy Planning" - sitting in the corner office and dictating what the company of 5000 or 50000 odd workforce should do; Of course, who would not like "POWER". In Prof's words - "Every B-school student thinks a Strategist is like a cow-boy; riding on the horseback and swinging his pistol."

Thankfully, this course on ASM, did precisely to demolish any such thoughts that one may have about Strategy. The course textbook that we had, made all the difference; it was a book by Henry Mintzbery and others titled, "Strategy Safari". We were also fortunate enough to have one of the students of Mintzberg as our Guest Faculty; An intellectual by any measure, his pithy one-liners had no comparisons; To get you a taste of that, try this - "All generalizations are false, including this and all Generalizations are true, including this."

I recommend all MBAs and Prospective MBAs to read this book before stepping into the real world of Strategy and Execution. Please do not have any fluffy ideas about Strategy:-)

Monday, August 25, 2003

:-(
On an average, I get around 10 visitors per day. Discounting the 2 visits that I normally make to my blog, I get around 8 visitors. How come none of my visitors leave a comment :-( Should blogs be more provocative? ;-)

Sunday, August 24, 2003

"We don’t like to make big bets. If we are making a big bet, it probably means we failed somewhere earlier" - An executive at Capital One, a credit card company

Friday, August 22, 2003

More effective but less clever ?
If you place in a bottle half a dozen bees and the same number of flies, and lay the bottle horizontally, with its base [the closed end] to the window, you will find that the bees will persist, till they die of exhaustion or hunger, in their endeavor to discover an [opening] through the glass; while the flies, in less than two minute, will all have sailed forth through the neck of the opposite side...It is [the bees'] love of flight, it is their very intelligence, that is their undoing in this experiment. They evidently imagine that the issue from every prison must be where the light shines the clearest; and they act in accordance, and persist in too-logical action, To [bees] glass is a supernatural mystery...and, the greater their intelligence, the more inadmissible, more incomprehensible, will the strange obstacle appear. Whereas the featherbrained flies, careless of logic...flutter wildly hither and thither and meeting here the good fortune that often waits on the simple...and necessarily end up by discovering the friendly opening that restores their liberty to them (Gordon Siu, in Peters and Waterman, 1982)

While reading the above, I got reminded of a story that appeared in "The Oars"

Tuesday, August 19, 2003

Google! I surrender to you!!
Thanks to my friend Sandeep, I have the brand new Google toolbar on my browser. As usual, Google is awesome. Some of the features make me feel that Google should steal the tagline "I am Chevrolet (Google)" from GM :)
Here is a gist of new features:
> The pop-up blocker, a long pending feature from IE, is here :-) Another cute (sorry for sounding feminine;-)) feature is that of an indicator in the cursor when pop-ups are blocked. Mozilla ... you lose :-(

> You can now blog on a site thru a click of a button ... Doesn't that make you say "Wow" ?

> Automatic Form filler... Ah! This is a great relief. Also when a form comes up in the Broswer, the fields for which info is available are highlighted in Yellow.

Innovation, thy name Google. No wonder, Analysts in US are waiting for Google's Netscape-like IPO. Then, you dont expect anything less from a company funded by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers

Sunday, August 10, 2003

Are you scared ? Rush to the betting parlor
Do you have information on the next suicidal bombing attack ? Well, you can rake in your dollars now (of course, not millions though...only thousands). Late in July, DARPA came up with this idea of betting parlor on speculating geo-political events. It is based on the same idea that the market forces can better predict an event, be it business or political, than a select few individuals. Brilliant, I would say. Then, you don't expect anything less from the agency which invented the Internet.

But before you jump on this idea, here is the somber note - The idea was shot down on Moral and Ethical grounds :-( Thinking about what all it could have achieved, well, the list is endless.

BW has an article on this titled "Betting on Terror: An Explosive Idea"
Here is the bigger picture !
I have been voraciously following the Outsourcing-to-India story that's appearing in the American Media. Here is an article titled "Outsourcing Jobs: Is It Bad?" in Business Week. Seems like an answer to my earlier blog on this subject. A pretty decent and balanced attempt by BW.

Wednesday, August 06, 2003

Only Dilbert !
Seems I violated the Contract agreement by using Geocities only for storing files :-( Here is the direct link to the Dilbert Comic strip

Tuesday, August 05, 2003

FAQs of a different kind ?!
A website for people who wanted to know all about Farting, but never dared to ask ;-)

Monday, August 04, 2003

Should I drop-out of my MBA?
Henry Mintzberg is known for some hard-hitting views on MBA scholars and thinkers. His animosity towards Porter,arguably one of the finest Strategy thinkers of our times, is well known to the MBA world. Here is an article by him titled "MBAs as CEOs". Hits very hard on MBAs with facts and numbers.

He says, "Unfortunately, or atleast less fortunately for everyone else, management is not analysis, or at least not merely analysis. Nor should it be the decision making of the case stufy classroom, where people who have mostly never managed get twenty pages about a company they do not know and are expected to pronounce on its strategy the next day... Pretending to create managers in a classroom is, we believe, wrong headed at best, or, as some of our evidence suggests, decidedly dysfunctional at worst."

The final line of that article is something most of you would love. Check it out for yourselves !!!

Sunday, August 03, 2003

Way to go Google !!!
I was in for a pleasant surprise on Saturday morning when I typed in www.google.com; I was actually redirected to www.google.co.in. Google seems to have launched its search engines in 5 Indian Languages. Oh Boy! It was fun to see Google telling "Indhiya naattin pakkangalil irunthu". Does it show the growing strength of Online Indian Populace?
Is there a bigger picture ?
In American society, there are certain indicators, which convey to the outside world about what America really thinks and what tops the mind of common Americans. Time magazine is one such bell-weather. It recently ran a story on outsourcing to Low cost countries particularly, India. Although this trend has been around for sometime now, suddenly it is gaining the attention of lawmakers, NGOs, Labor unions amongst others. There seems to be anger all over. Recently, one of my American colleagues made this remark which aptly conveys what the man on the street thinks about this trend: "If they (the businesses) keep moving all the jobs to low-cost countries and tell us that it saves the consumers precious money, I miss the logic. When all of us fight over a job at McDonalds, who is going to be there to buy these products and services"; My Economics professors might have a different reasoning altogether. But intuitively speaking, I find a lot of logic in what this person says. Are the American corporations really missing the bigger picture, if at all one exists?
Time-Travel !@#$%
A day to post weird blogs.So here I go !!! Can anything get weirder than this Time-travel story? And think about this; Yahoo has posted this in the entertainment section :-) Who knows... one day Yahoo! and my blog would be criticized for being so short-sighted in vision :-(
Threat for the Indian Software Industry :-)
Object oriented Programming, Extreme Programming and now Primate Programming !!! How many of you would have thought that one day the Indian Software Industry would have to compete with poor Apes :-) Time for Narayanamurthy and Azim Premji to do some serious thinking to fight it out in this new marketplace err... zooplace ;-))