Sunday, September 28, 2008

Scientific Inventions and Change in lifestyle

I have signed a new contract for broadband service. The service provider requested me to wait for a fortnight to get connected with the digital world. I found it very tough to live without internet connection. As I have mentioned in my orkut profile I understood that I got addicted to the digital virus (discomgoogolated). While I understood the effect of digital invention in my lifestyle I am now trying to turn the clock back by 20 years and trying to go back in time clock by adjusting my thought process.

Year - 1988; Place - a small village in Tamilnadu, India; Scene - a typical middle class family

This was the time television started to get popularity among the public with Doordarshan the only service provider. There was no television in that village. People used to gather in some house and used to have chit-chat. This helped them to build strong public relations among the neighbourhood. This also helped in analyse an issue from diferent perspectives as we tend to discuss it among people. It helped children to feel secured as they gather with more adult people and children of their age. More specifically children are allowed to mingle with other kids of their age and used to play. This helped in building skills necessary to become a team player. The atmosphere slowly changed and television entered that small lovely village. The public slowly started to get involved in wathching television. The analog media attracted them very quickly with the colours and variety.

Year - 1995; Place - a small village in Tamilnadu, India; Scene - a typical middle class family

Years passed on quickly. The analog media slowly transformed to digital. The number of channels started to increase. The radical change from digital to analog made radio a redundant for some time before radio emerged with variety. Digital media during initial days made use of the public's lust for film stars and made huge profit. This even outplayed the government's doordarshan. The public startedlacking sense in thinking what is good and what is not. The programs were not intend to enlighten public. They made use of the weakness among them. This reduced the productivity among public. The telephone made its entry into the house.

Year - 2001; Place - a small village in Tamilnadu, India; Scene - a typical middle class family

As time goes on new inventions hit the market with more force and strength. The entry of digital media transformed the world to come in hands through a single click. Public started using mobile phones. The digital revolution enabled people to connect with each other irrespective of the location. This increased the spending power of public. The physical distance between individual start to increase. Nolonger public spend time with neighbours as it happened a decade back. Nolonger children are allowed more time to spend with fellow kids. They were stressed to spend more time in preparing for competitive exams. The education for children enlightened their interest towards many things and made them competitive. But this had a negative impact. The children started to lack in self confidence, team building, coordination etc. The technical skills were improved among public with the loss of transferable skills. This even had a negative impact in business. The business world started to blame the education system for producing non-employable resource.

Year - 2008; Place - a small village in Tamilnadu, India; Scene - a typical middle class family

Each and every middle class family is now having a colour TV, telephone, mobile phone, DVD/CD player, fridge, washing machine, grinder, mixie, personal vehicle. The list is not limited with this. These can be found widely in a typical middle class family now. But what is lacking in a family is that the parents are not having time to spend with their children. The public is not having time to spend time with the neighbours, society, community. The children were given access to digital play field. This increases the frustration and anger among them. This reduced the reading habit among children and adult. The people started to get connected in the virtual digital world.

As I forcast the future, it is likely that the public will lack self confidence even more. They are likely to become slaves but this time to the digital virus. They might feel sorry for an unknown friend in the virtual world leaving behind the real human being who are living in front of them. Lack of trust will go high. The non-employability will go even higher. The education system will be blamed for not teaching how to live. Thus the parental community will start to drift from their primary focus of growing a good citizen who will be productive in future. They will start to look for an agency which can grow their children for themselves.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Elephant Story and Management

When I was a kid my grand parents used to entertain me by telling stories. I feel this is more natural in Indian family system. The family system is not my topic of concern but the stories that I was told is my interest of the date. I remember a particular story of an Elephant and 6 blind men. Let me try my best to narrate the story to the readers.

Long ago there were 6 blind friends lived in a town. Though they are physically challenged, they imagined the world we live by sensing it through touching the things. Then they used to discuss about their perception among themselves to imagine better. One day they heard that there is an elephant show in the town. They have not had a chance to imagine this animal before. As others the enthusiasm got carried on to these 6 friends also. The news heard from others about how the animal looks increased the eagerness among these friends. So they decided to visit the town center to get a feel of the animal.

Thinking about the animal the 6 friends reached the town center. They requested the trainer to help them in getting the feel of this animal that stands in front of them. Seeing the interest and enthusiasm in these physically challenged friends the trainer agreed to help them in touching the animal.

The First approached the Elephant, And happening to fall Against his broad and sturdy side, At once began to brawl: "God bless me but the Elephant Is very like a wall." The Second, feeling of the tusk, Cried, "Ho! What have we here So very round and smooth and sharp? To me 'tis mighty clear This wonder of an Elephant Is very like a spear!" The Third approached the animal, And happening to take The squirming trunk within his hands, Thus boldly up and spake: "I see," quoth he, "The Elephant Is very like a snake!" The Fourth reached out an eager hand, And felt around the knee, "What most this wondrous beast is like Is mighty plain," quoth he; " 'Tis clear enough the Elephant Is very like a tree!" The Fifth, who chanced to touch the ear, Said: "E'en the blindest man Can tell what this resembles most; Deny the fact who can, This marvel of an Elephant Is very like a fan!" The Sixth no sooner had begun About the beast to grope, Than, seizing on the swinging tail That fell within his scope, "I see," quoth he, "the Elephant is very like a rope!"

The management lesson that we get out of this story is that each and every individual in this world has their own perception about each and every thing. The reason for perception can range from many things like their studies, believes, standard of living, family background, surroundings, society, interests, exposure etc. The list is endless. In order to be a good person we need to accept and appreciate this individuality.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Steven Spielberg's Artificial Intelligence & Management

Artificial intelligence (2001) a Steven Spielberg film is a thought provoking movie. When I had a chance to watch this movie it triggered an important question related to management. Before I proceed further with my thought let me give a small overview of the film.

The movie was directed, produced and co-written by Steven Spielberg. The film is about a mechanical boy manufactured by one of the scientist. The boy becomes the first of the kind who simulates almost all the feelings as that of human being. The boy even tries chasing his dream at one point of time. This movie touches the human feelings and it tries to question about whether it is possible to create a mankind simulation without affecting the real human kind. The story line is very simple yet very strong with close knitted sentiments and emotions. Who told western movies are not sentimental. They are far more sentimental than Indian movies. The only difference is that the sentimental sequences in those movies are like real so they are not displayed separately from the story line.

I hope with this short description about the movie let me dwell into the management thought that I obtained from this movie. Many people have a notion that management is to do with managing people. Yes the argument of leadership is right. But it is just one face to management. By this I mean that management is far more than leadership. But the important thing to note from my perspective is that there is a strong co-relation between neuroscience and leadership. Consider for example world’s 2nd largest economy Japan, there is very limited management theory emerged from this country. When we look at US, we say that the country was built upon strong expatriate community that came out of the parent country. This expatriate crowd is the one which became the base for the strong growth of US economy. The other countries either followed them are trying to imitate them. The exception can be seen from EU region. It is said that there occurred a brain drain in EU when many good brains went out of EU to settle in US. Along with them they took away the strong management brain to US from where majority of management theory emerged and is emerging. Does that mean the countries which acted as colonies or which was part of bigger nation cannot become leader? Does this mean leadership should come from the genes of a particular family?

But I feel that there is some sort of relationship between leadership and DNA. But this does not mean that leaders can emerge only from western countries or developed countries. As we practice management in developing countries, leaders emerge from these countries also. But the style of leadership differs based on the region from which they belong to. This can be found by researching different countries and the type of leadership they follow.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Stirling Castle - Management system

Nature has given very good mix of resources to Scotland. The country has both the mix of highlands and low lands. Stirling acts as a connecting point between the highland and lowland of Scotland. Stirling is a beautiful city of Scotland, situated 30 miles away from Glasgow. The city can be reached from both Edinburgh and Glasgow in less than an hour journey. The place got significant interest because of its natural setup. The main visitor's attraction of Stirling is its castle. The Castle has a long historic background which extends beyond 11th century. This castle acted as the capital for many years in Scottish history. The castle was located in a naturally beautiful hill area. On a clear day people can have a vision of around 50 miles radius from this castle. The castle attracts a total visitor’s count of around 200,000 per year. Tourism and development is one of major industry in Scotland. This industry contributes significantly to the GDP of the country. There are many themes in promoting tourism in the country. To name a few Golf play, Adventure, Historic, and Scenic view etc. Nature has given a lot of resources which acts as the base for the country.

The management issues that are associated with Stirling castle in particular are related with climate. The castle is located in a small mountainous region. We can experience significant variation in temperature between lowland area and this region. As Scottish climate is expected to be wet, people might feel uncomfortable in having a good view of natural scenery of this place and to get the actual feel of tour. Even the management might face problem in promoting this place with its wet climate. Though the place has got long traditional Scottish history associated with itself, the display available in the castle is very limited. The architecture design is an important point to note in this castle. On the other hand this particular castle lack in displaying the old tradition of Scottish rule. The whole castle can be covered in less than an hour and half with guided tour. The facilities are excellent. The castle has provision to arrange for audio tour if so required. The refractory has excellent food with good friendly people serving them. We cannot blame the management in the service it provide to the visitors. It can be assured that all the visitors are received with pleasing staffs to have a good stay at this place.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Useful plugins for Firefox

Microsoft has released ie 8, Google released Chrome. The 2nd most popular browser with 20% market share Firefox is working on its way to release new version of its browser. Recently I came across a few plugins for firefox that might be of helpful for others. I am sharing them along with its usage.

1. Athens login toolbar
Athens is an online academic database in UK. This plugin enables user to login to Athens there by the user gets access to wide variety of articles, journals, ebooks, statistics data etc. I am using it for more than 2 months and it comes handy without affecting the normal performance of the browser. This plugin reduces the user mouse click and keyboard access.

2. Wizz
This is a RSS feed reader. This collects all the rss url and saves it in a structured manner. Whenever user wants to read or update him/herself with his/her interest he/she can click on this Wizz window to open and can start reading the updated news. This has option to import and export feeds. The performance of the browser takes a toll when we use this plugin.

3. Scribefire
This plugin is useful for those who often write blogs. This enables user to drag and drop formatted text into blog. A handy tool to write blogs with rich format text.

4. Twitterfox
The extension adds a tiny icon on the status bar that notifies user when user's friends update their statuses. Also it has a small text input field to update user's status. Interested people can see more information on my site:

5. Zotero
This plugin is particularly useful for students/researchers who often needs to cite their works. This plugin helps in building reference automatically without manual typing. Thus this plugin reduces user time in creating a reference in accordance with different format. For more info please visit

6. Flashblack
This is a handy tool to suppress unwanted flash movie ads. getting loaded when people are interested in doing serious stuffs. This tool can suppress those flash movies and gives option to user to view by selecting particular movie file to load.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Weird fact about me

The sky is pouring down water in the form of rain to neutralize global warming in its natural form. Cold breeze flow through air. Its late night in Glasgow. As we move away 4.5 hours from GMT we see that India woke up from sleep. It has started another week. I am listening to Aahaa fm online. As I listen to fm my thoughts wander around many issues. Late night I read lots of news paper articles particularly related to two main issues. The first was about the terrorist attack in the capital city of India. The second regarding Lehman brothers. As I was reading I got a few ideas that could be implemented in future.

During this period suddenly a weird fact about my past struck my mind. I found that there is a strong co-relation between my life and emerging things. I selected an emerging subject during that period (Information Technology). Post my undergraduate studies I joined an emerging company of that time (Mindtree Consulting). During my career I started working with an emerging technology (Content Management-Documentum). I joined a foreign university to do my MBA. Again this university is emerging university. I think this is merely a co-incidence. But this fact is interesting.

I feel that emerging industry, country and area is a place to study. I feel that I have utilized this gifted opportunity to learn in emerging areas. Now I feel that I am ready to reflect upon my learning and to do some productive work. I get many good ideas irrespective of industry. I think this is the gift I have with me. I should utilize this properly to bring many constructive changes.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Business in Tamilnadu Strengths and weakness - An article in Business Today

The nondescript office in Chennai's Egmore area that houses the Guidance Bureau, the single-window investment facilitation office of the Tamil Nadu government, has never seen as much activity since its inception in the early 1990s as it has over the last 26 months. During this period, foreign direct investment worth Rs 25,683 crore has found its way into Tamil Nadu (mostly in and around Chennai). That apart, projects worth Rs 16,000 crore have been finalised and are awaiting official announcements.

For M. Velmurugan, Director, Guidance Bureau, and his staff, it has been a period of extended office hours and lost weekends. We close a minimum of one project worth at least Rs 400 crore every week, says Velmurugan, who is also the point-person for hard-selling Tamil Nadu as an investment destination.

Among the big-ticket investments his department has bagged are the Rs 4,500-crore Renault-Nissan car project, the Rs 3,000-crore Daimler-Hero commercial vehicle facility, Hyundai's Rs 4,000-crore second-phase expansion, Moser Baer's Rs 2,000-crore photo voltaic manufacturing plant, Apollo Tyres' Rs 500-crore radial tyre plant and Nokia-Siemens' Rs 300-crore telecommunications equipment manufacturing facility.But Velmurugan prefers to showcase the state of existing investments to highlight Chennai's competitive edge. Nokia's India operations, he says, began in January 2006 with just over 500 employees.

Fact file

Area: 1,189 sq. km

Population: 7.5 million

Main industries: Information Technology, ITES, Auto, Telecom Hardware

Per capita income: Rs 21,885 per annum

Rents (commercial): RS 60-90 per sq. ft

Peak power demand: 9,267 MW

Peak power supply: 8,800 MW

Power deficit: 467 MW

Power tariffs domestic: Rs 1.85-2.90 per unit

Power tariffs commercial: Rs 5.05-6.00 per unit

Power tariffs industrial: Rs 3.30-4.05 per unit

Total water supply: 950 million litres per day

Per capita water supply (City): 147 litres per day

Public transport: Buses, Suburban Trains, Taxis and AutorickshawsToday, its staff strength is 8,000 (its vendors in the Nokia SEZ employ another 15,000 people). In fact, Nokia's Chennai facility has overtaken the one in China and is now its largest manufacturing facility in the world in terms of volume.

Similarly, Hyundai, which started with a capacity of 100,000 cars in 1996, has expanded its output to 630,000 cars and has designated its Chennai plant its global small car hub. These expansions are a clear indicator of the extent of competitiveness Chennai offers to investors, he says with more than a hint of pride.

Inherent strengthsA strong educational system has been one of Tamil Nadu's traditional strengths. There are, according to Velmurugan, 333 engineering colleges, 230 polytechnics and over 1,200 industrial training institutes churning out close to 300,000 technically qualified students every year. Tamil Nadu produces 25 per cent of the country's engineering graduates.

Moreover, the work culture is very attractive. People here are eager to learn and have a higher sense of loyalty, says R. Chandrasekaran, Managing Director & President, Cognizant Technology Solutions, which houses about 35 per cent of its 59,000-strong workforce in Chennai.

Chennai's other strength is its connectivity to all parts of the country not just by rail, road and air but also through two major ports, Chennai and Ennore. The former, in fact, is India's secondbusiest container terminal. Also, undersea cables to Singapore (13.2 terabits capacity) connect us to our mainframes and servers around the world, says Michael Boneham, President & Managing Director, Ford India.Ford, which recently announced a $500-million (Rs 2,150 crore) programme to double its capacity and set up an engine manufacturing facility, was one of the first global automobile majors to zero in on Chennai.The city's other advantage is its low rentals. Though nearly 16 million square feet (sq. ft) of office space has been absorbed in the city over the last three years, Grade A office rentals in the central business district is just Rs 60-90 per sq. ft compared to Rs 350-600 per sq. ft in Mumbai,'' points out Ramesh Nair, Managing Director, Jones Lang LaSalle Meghraj, a real estate consulting firm.Chennai scores on the softer side as well. Our culture is more welcoming and people face fewer barriers when making friends, says Ranjani Manian, Founder CEO, Global Adjustments, a relocation and cross-cultural training firm. The city has excellent schools and medical facilities, the crime rate is low and there are no communal tensions, she adds.

Chennai's strengths are its ports and connectivity to all parts of the country by rail, road and air - Michael Boneham, MD, Ford IndiaTamil Nadu's work culture is very attractive and people here are eager to learn - R. Chandrasekaran, MD & President, Cognizant TechnologiesOur culture is more welcoming and people face fewer barriers when making friends - Ranjani Manian, Founder CEO, Global AdjustmentsMost importantly, the state government is seen as investor-friendly and has been courting investments armed with a huge land bank in close proximity to Chennai.

The flip side of success

The massive inflow of investments and people has, however, begun to take a toll on Chennai's infrastructure. Power consumption grew 16 per cent in 2007-08. This was accompanied by a fall in hydro-power generated by the Tamil Nadu Electricity Board (TNEB). Result: a shortfall of about 467 MW. In 2008, for the first time in many years, the government announced power cuts for both residents and industries.This regulated loadshedding and industrial holidays have taken the sheen off Tamil Nadu's claim of being a power-surplus state. The shortfall in power supply is a temporary phenomenon. Inconsistent rains in recent weeks have hit hydro-power generation. We are rapidly augmenting capacity and will add about 4,500 MW by 2011, making Chennai power-surplus once again, says S. Kathiresan, Member, Accounts, TNEB.

The rain gods may have played truant in recent times, but they have been bountiful over the last couple of years. This has allowed the authorities to charge the reservoirs that currently supply 645 million litres of water a day. But experts warn that the situation could deteriorate rapidly if the monsoons fail. No long-term solution to the city's water problem has been found. A desalination plant is coming up, but that is a bad remedy. Interlinking rivers is a good option but it is far from being accepted conceptually. In a way, we are going in a blind alley and there are no plans to stop this march, warns C.S. Kuppuraj, former Chief Engineer, Tamil Nadu Public Works Department.Chennai's infrastructure is also wilting. Traffic snarls are becoming more common despite the government investing heavily in widening roads and on building flyovers and bypass roads. Infrastructure will always be a challenge though it is not as bad as in other cities. It will always be in catch-up mode, points out Cognizant's Chandrasekaran.

Also, residential rentals have steadily increased at 25 to 30 per cent per annum over the last three years blowing a gaping hole in the monthly budgets of middle class residents and forcing many to relocate to the suburbs.Time for optimism

Adds S. Muthiah, noted journalist and historian: The city's population has grown three times over the last 10 years but we have failed to move the population out of the city. Attempts to build townships closer to industrial clusters such as Gummidipoondi and Maraimalainagar, near Chennai, have failed. The ever-increasing population puts enormous stress on roads, schools and the water and power infrastructure. In fact, he has a rather radical solution to decongest the city: move the political capital out of Chennai and turn the city into a business hub.

The government, for its part, is now promoting Tier II cities such as Coimbatore and Madurai as investment destinations for IT and ITES projects in order to ease the pressure on the state capital and has even been partially successful in its endeavour.

But despite this, it is clear that Chennai's infrastructure is starting to feel the pressure. Is there any danger, then, of the city going the Bangalore way? This is a genuine concern in the minds of many in Tamil Nadu. But people like Muthiah feel otherwise. We are clearly heading that (Bangalore's) way, but we may not actually get there as the state government is aware of the impending crisis. It has already initiated road, public transport and power projects to ensure that Chennai's infrastructure at least keeps pace with requirements, he says. Given the projects on the ground and the stated aims of both the major political parties in the state, some of his optimism is, indeed, warranted.