Big Day Ahead: Night before

It’s the night before an important event: a big exam, a major presentation, your wedding. How do you calm your nerves in preparation for the big day?


A War of Nerves

A War of Nerves (Photo credit: Wikipedia)



The night before,


There’s very little to actually do.


Except show up and do the deed.


For if you’re not ready right now,


You won’t be ready tomorrow.


None can be done extempore.


–Linus Fernandes


Truth Serum: Q & A

You’ve come into possession of one vial of truth serum. Who would you give it to (with the person’s consent, of course) — and what questions would you ask?

A truth serum have I,

That you might choose to take or not.

(I need your consent.)

But then you’d have to trust,

That what you confess would not be repeated

—Ad nauseam.

Or would you rather 

Sign a disclaimer,

That what’s said under the influence,

is practically inadmissible 

In court or elsewhere.

The questions I would ask then

Are neither here nor there.

—Linus Fernandes.


Full Disclosure: Mad Scientist’s chip off the block

A mad scientist friend offers you a chip that would allow you to know what the people you’re talking to are thinking. The catch: you can’t turn it off. Do you accept the chip?


So you’re offering me a chip that lets me know what the people I’m talking to are thinking?

Would I want it, especially since it can never be turned off?

That sounds much like the premise behind a Canadian serial “The Listener” where Toby Logan is a paramedic who can hear people’s thoughts.

The Good Samaritan uses his “subsonic” abilities to help the local police solve crimes.

Man thinking on a train journey.

Man thinking on a train journey. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As for me, I’d like to picture where and when this device would be useful.

With people I know and like, if I heard their unpalatable thoughts, well, I’d be put off,  probably unpleasantly surprised.

With perfect strangers, well, you don’t expect their thoughts to concern you and hence maybe I’d get an insight as to why they have those pained expressions on their countenances.

For people I know and dislike, well, it’d probably just be mere validation of my opinion of their opinion of me.

But, wait a second, what about me and my thoughts?

With all those external musings jostling for space in my overwrought brain, when would I have space and time to be with my own reflections?

Would I have to take to a solitary retreat to understand myself?

So , the answer’s no, Sir, I rather wouldn’t!

The Listener (TV series)

The Listener (TV series) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Web-services, SOA, BPM & Cloud Computing – X


Image via Wikipedia

Web-services, SOA, BPM & Cloud Computing – X

No series on cloud computing would be complete without alluding to Google’s audacious attempt at building an OS around the cloud computing paradigm.

Yes, I’m referring to the Google Chrome OS, a spin-off to the Google Chrome browser. The open source versions for the Chrome OS are the Chromium OS and the Chromium Browser respectively.

The Google Chrome OS

The Google Chrome OS is targeted specifically to netbooks, not the primary device of use, but a secondary, portable, lightweight device. The OS is small enough to be loaded on a USB drive and booted from the very same device. Applications on local storage are few and far between and most useful, user applications are based in the cloud. The user interface is minimalist much like the Chrome Browser. Boot time is very quick with Google software engineer Martin Bligh demonstrating a bootup time of four seconds.

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Valuing Brands

Indian Premier League

Image via Wikipedia

Now with most of the heat from the IPLgate scandal dying down into small embers that may flare once more, some of the sound bytes that we , as viewers, heard on the news channels and came across in the print media was about the damage caused to the IPL brand. The IPL brand could have been damaged irreparably and the IPL brand has now become associated with sleaze. No self-respecting organization or individual would wish to be associated with a sleazy brand.

A brief history of the IPL and about Lalit Modi. However much Lalit Modi may parade his credentials as the IPL brand maker, a little peek at history will remind us that it was not the IPL that brought about a revolution in T20 cricket in India but it was the now defunct ICL (Indian Cricket League) that first introduced Indian viewers to the vagaries and pleasures of T20 tamasha cricket , though of course, it failed because the BCCI flexed its muscle and had all associated Indian and international players banned by the ICC since the tournament was not conducted under the auspices of the ICC. But the success of the ICL, in terms of television viewership, was a kick in the ass to the BCCI bigwigs and hence the unholy rush to have Lalit Modi launch the IPL and further hence have a hugely free hand in its running without any real due diligence either on the part of the BCCI or the IPL governing council. Interestingly, with the ICL shutting down shop, the ban on the ICL players was revoked and thus this edition of the IPL had the likes of Shane Bond and Ambati Rayudu plying their wares once more to a global audience.

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The Balanced Scorecard & Project Management

I have just finished reading a book on Project Management titled The Project Management Scorecard: Measuring The Success of Project Management Solutions by Jack J. Philips, Timothy W. Bothell & G. Lynne Snead.

Once we assuage our conscience by calling something a "necessary evil", it begins to look more and more necessary and less and less evil. –Sydney J. Harris, journalist (1917-1986)

The  idea of a scorecard to track management practices, their results and continuous improvement in a closed loop system is not novel to me.

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Capitalism: Its Two Variants

A vector image of :Image:Capitalismlogo.

Image via Wikipedia

There exist 2 variants of capitalism: Individual Capitalism and Communitarian Capitalism.

Individual Capitalism is epitomized by the United States. Japan , at the other extreme, exhibits a form of communitarian capitalism.

The 2 tables below outline the differences between the 2 systems.





How to optimize the performance of a system: Cooperation at all levels will optimize the system. Competition at all levels will optimize the system.
The key driving force in the economy: The desire to build for the future. The desire for current consumption and leisure.
Motivation for work: Work provides utility. Individuals live to work. Work provides disutility. Individuals work to live.
Responsibility for skills and training prior to employment: Responsibility of society. Strong high schools and apprenticeship programs. Responsibility of the individual beyond relatively weak high schools. Few apprenticeship programs.
Relationship between government and business: Government supports and cooperates with business to optimize the system. Government regulates business to promote competition. Click for Summary of the 2001 and 2005 ASCE Report cards on U.S. Infrastructure.
Government policy: Promote growth in supply. Promote growth in demand.






Dominant objective and focus: Building for the future with long term focus. Profit maximization with short term focus.
Organizational Structure: Horizontal, flat or lean with relatively few layers of management. Bottom up consensus decisions. Vertical with many layers of management. Top down autocratic decisions.
How profits are used: As fuel to keep investing and building. To increase consumption and leisure for stockholders.
Hierarchy of organization’s constituencies: 1. Employees
2. Customers
3. Stockholders
4. Suppliers
1. Stockholders
2. Customers
3. Employees
Employment and job security: Lifetime employment promotes bonding. Uncertain employment discourages bonding.
Responsibility for training after employment: Companies provide cross training and job rotation. Individuals are mainly responsible for their own skills.
Route to management: Long multi-function internship. From college, to single function specialization, to management.
Management attitude toward teamwork: Teamwork and cooperation are essential for optimizing the system. Teamwork is risky. Individual performance will optimize the system.
Management behavior in economic recession: Cut:
1. dividends
2. management compensation.
3. workers pay and jobs as last resort.
1. workers pay and jobs
2. management compensation.
3. dividends.
View of leadership: A leader manages processes or work. A leader manages results.
Management attitude toward problems: Understands the variability within the system and tends to blame the system first. Specialist has less understanding of the system and tends to blame employees.
Tools of management: Employee empowerment, group praise and profit sharing. Statistical control. Managers facilitate, counsel, teach and provide resources. Management by objectives, merit ratings, incentive pay, quotas, standard rates and quantities, piecework and annual ranking of employees. Count results.

So where do you think BRIC/BASIC countries place themselves?



The Women’s Reservation Bill – Boon Or Bane?

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Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Laloo Prasad Yadav...

Image via Wikipedia

A quick guide to the Women’s Reservation Bill as outlined in Forbes India.

The bill proposes that one-third of seats in the Lok Sabha and the State Assemblies would be reserved for women over the next 15 years i.e. the next 3 general elections, assuming that elections take place every 5 years which in turn supposes stable governments at the centre and in each state over the next 15 years.

As the article suggests, it would seem that rotation of Lok Sabha and assembly seats over the next 15 years is the only way to ensure an equitable and fair distribution of seats to women. That does not answer the more important question as to the quality of women candidates since it is a well-known fact that politicians who are debarred from contesting for various reasons, have made it a practice to have their wives, daughters and relatives contest instead. Rabri Devi, the spouse of Laloo Prasad Yadav , is an instance of this kind of cynical approach to the rule of law in politics and governance.

This is not to say that the law passed is not commendable. What we cannot commend however is the rule of cynicism towards governance in this country. It is the 90% of politicians that give the remaining 10% a bad name. How true of Indian politics!

An interesting side-effect of this law will be that politicians will be forced to vacate their seats in favor of women politicians if their seat is the one selected for reservation in that election year. Will this imply that stalwarts will now either contest from the Rajya Sabha or other constituencies? Note that a politician can contest from more than one constituency to ensure that he/she is a member of the newly elected Parliament or assembly. Or will this ensure that politicians will now spend more time building good-will for their party during their time spent in office rather than building their own image?

Will parties build in accountability for incumbent politicians when their party loses the next election or will women politicians be made the scapegoats if the party loses the incumbent seat? This, of course, pre-supposes that seats will not be allocated to family members of the weaker(?) sex?

All said, change is good, but cynical change or change that just follows the letter of the law and not the spirit is well , just lip service and very easily seen through!

Have a great weekend!



Quote of the day:
Those who speak most of progress measure it by quantity and not by quality. – George Santayana