Tuesday, December 26, 2006

The Art of living

Last week was very special for me as I got an opportunity to attend the ‘Art of living part –I’ course. Last year I attended the ‘Sri Sri Yoga’ course organized by the same organization and you can find more details on my blog titled ‘Yoga – An integrated solution’. In this blog I am going to share my experiences and learning from the AOL course.

Before getting into the course details, let me give some background information. Dr.Stephen covey in his ‘seven habits of highly effective people’ talks about four important dimensions for human development. They are physical, mental, spiritual and emotional (social) dimensions. He had arrived at these dimensions based on his thirty years of research in the human development, psychology and character building. In order to have an ‘inclusive’ growth, human beings need to develop themselves in all four dimensions. In his book Dr. Covey strongly advocates for having a strong character in order to be effective. This character centric growth will result in ‘effective’ human beings, who are happy, fulfilled and they are the ones who make significant contributions to the society they live.

In the ‘art-of-living’ course I got an opportunity to explore all four dimensions. Basically it is a six day course spanning about twenty hours and consists of yoga, breathing techniques, meditation and loads of activities. The learning mainly happens through various activities which is more of ‘learning-by-doing’ way. In all the above mentioned techniques controlling and focusing the breath is a very important aspect. The breathing is an important activity, because it differentiates between the living and non-living beings. By focusing on breath, more amount of oxygen (or ‘prana’) is filled inside the body which results in more amount of positive energy in the body. This result in a stress free, relaxed, focused and fulfilled life.

The highlight of the course is ‘sudharshan kriya yoga (SKY)’, which is invented Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, founder of art of living foundation. The SKY is a special breathing technique, which is all about breathing in different rhythms. There is quiet some amount of medical research done on SKY and it is scientifically proven that is helps to cure lots of diseases in a natural way. I am yet to read the technical papers on SKY and they are available in the URL: http://www.artofliving.org/ under the ‘research’ tab. I won’t say much about SKY because it needs to be ‘experienced’ rather than writing about it. But I would say it’s really worth experiencing it and I am sure it is going to have a profound impact. I also got a chance to visit the art of living international centre at Kanakpura road and it’s really a serene, green and beautiful place (see the picture below).

I was able to see lots of foreign nationals living in the ashram, which once again proves the intellectual wealth our country has. The western world has built un-measurable amount of materialistic wealth in terms of infrastructure, scientific innovations, multi national corporations and strong economies. At the same time the western way of living cannot answer questions like ‘What is the purpose of life?’ ‘What is the reason behind human beings existence?’ ‘How to attain perpetual happiness?’ ‘What is consciousness?’ At the same time as far as individuals are concerned, everyone needs a happy fulfilled life which the materialistic wealth cannot provide beyond certain extent. So it is very vital for us to think beyond materialism and find a true purpose of life. Courses like ‘art of living’ helps to find that ultimate purpose and goal of life.

Overall this course has given excellent experience for me. I would strongly suggest readers to go through this course and experience the SKY.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Mohammed Yusuf - Noble price speech

Some time back I wrote a blog about ‘Muhammed Yuguf and Microcredit’ where I gave my perspective on the excellent work he has done. This December 10th he received the Noble peace price for his revolutionary micro-credit implementation in Bangladesh. I got a chance to read his inspirational noble price speech, which is really wonderful. The total speech was very good and I personally liked the following points:

On poverty:

“World's income distribution gives a very telling story. Ninety four percent of the world income goes to 40 percent of the population while sixty percent of people live on only 6 per cent of world income. Half of the world population lives on two dollars a day. Over one billion people live on less than a dollar a day. This is no formula for peace. Poverty is the absence of all human rights. The frustrations, hostility and anger generated by abject poverty cannot sustain peace in any society. For building stable peace we must find ways to provide opportunities for people to live decent lives.”

On Grameen bank:

“I wanted to do something immediate to help people around me, even if it was just one human being, to get through another day with a little more ease. That brought me face to face with poor people's struggle to find the tiniest amounts of money to support their efforts to eke out a living. I was shocked to discover a woman in the village, borrowing less than a dollar from the money-lender, on the condition that he would have the exclusive right to buy all she produces at the price he decides. This, to me, was a way of recruiting slave labor.It is 30 years now since we began. We keep looking at the children of our borrowers to see what has been the impact of our work on their lives. The women who are our borrowers always gave topmost priority to the children. One of the Sixteen Decisions developed and followed by them was to send children to school. Grameen Bank encouraged them, and before long all the children were going to school. Many of these children made it to the top of their class. We wanted to celebrate that, so we introduced scholarships for talented students. Grameen Bank now gives 30,000 scholarships every year.”

On open market and free trade:

“I am in favor of strengthening the freedom of the market. At the same time, I am very unhappy about the conceptual restrictions imposed on the players in the market. This originates from the assumption that entrepreneurs are one-dimensional human beings, who are dedicated to one mission in their business lives 3/4 to maximize profit. This interpretation of capitalism insulates the entrepreneurs from all political, emotional, social, spiritual, environmental dimensions of their lives. This was done perhaps as a reasonable simplification, but it stripped away the very essentials of human life.”

On Entrepreneurship:

“By defining "entrepreneur" in a broader way we can change the character of capitalism radically, and solve many of the unresolved social and economic problems within the scope of the free market. Let us suppose an entrepreneur, instead of having a single source of motivation (such as, maximizing profit), now has two sources of motivation, which are mutually exclusive, but equally compelling 3/4 a) maximization of profit and b) doing good to people and the world.”

Pizza hut Vs Coffee house

This weekend I went to have Pizza and learned what the word ‘differentiation’ of employees exactly means. If you closely observe, guys out there would be wearing some interesting badges and symbols in their shirts. This time I couldn’t control my curiosity and asked what it means. The answer the bearer gave was pretty interesting. Each new joiner is put into a particular department (customer service, delivery, phone service, pizza preparation, pasta preparation etc...) and they have a strict evaluation system in place. When an employee becomes an ‘expert’ in a particular department he gets a badge with the particular name. Then I observed closely and it was fun to see badges like ‘pasta expert’. Apart from this when an employee reaches ‘excellence’ in any domain they get other special batches like ‘customer maniac’. Of course this is truly based on performance of the employees.

This also explains why a bearer who is not ‘assigned’ to your table doesn’t hesitate to serve pizza or water if you request them. Their internal system is so strong that they are able to give services like ’30 minutes delivery or free pizza’ their customers, which makes pizza eating as an excellent experience for customers. More than the product (in this case the pizza) the people ‘differentiation’ system is making Pizza Hut successful in the marketplace. Today working towards giving ‘aha’ experience to customers is the key success factor for individuals as well as organizations.

On the other hand, I had been to ‘coffee house’ multiple times and altogether had a different experience. Coffee house is a Karnataka Government owned organization, which has multiple branches in Bangalore. They serve excellent Dosas and coffee at a very optimal cost. The bearers normally dressed in old ‘british-naukar’ type uniform and will give you a ‘get lost’ look when you enter that place. Each table is assigned to a particular bearer and only he is supposed to be ‘responsible’ for that. Even if you ask for a cup of water to the other bearer they won’t bother to bring. They always say ‘your bearer will bring it’. In spite of having excellent products like dosa and coffee, the government run coffee-house is not a successful venture, reason being people system. People are not customer centric because they are not differentiated. Everybody gets equal pay whatever they do.

Couple of years back, I read Jack Welch’s book ‘Straight from the Gut’ and I was really impressed with his breakthrough ideas and thinking. I was so impressed that I went ahead and gave the same name to my blog. In his book Jack talks about the ‘differentiation’ theory, where he divided GE’s people into 10-70-20 ratio depending on their performance. The bottom 20 gets churned out as bad performers. In his book Jack argues, how important to build such a differentiation mechanism in any organization to make it successful. Even though this was one of the most controversial systems, it made wonders for GE.

I strongly agree that capitalism has its own limitations. If not for anything let us embrace capitalism to build ‘differentiation’. This would bring in excellent customer experience, profitable organizations and happy (!) employees. After all who don’t want to enjoy Pizza Hut like service in Coffee House also?

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Let us celebrate Diversity

As we all know India is a ‘diverse’ country with various languages, culture, food, customs and geographical nature. In fact we proudly say ‘Unity in diversity’ and it’s really a miracle that how this complex system called India is working. The roots of ‘diversity’ traces back to Indus valley civilization times, which are explained very beautifully in Nehru’s all time classic ‘Discovery of India’. I have not yet completed this book, but following two points are very important to understand.

First, let us compare Indus valley civilization (where India’s origin belongs to) with Egyptian and Greek civilizations. The Egyptians worshipped their forefathers and preserved them as ‘mummies’. These mummies served them as a guide and everything revolved around them. In case of Greek they worshipped the ‘kings’ as their centre of attraction. Whereas in Indus valley civilization they couldn’t find any symbols like mummies, which bound people in a single thread. So early traces of ‘democracy’ were found among the people lived in this area. Basically democracy is designed for people by people, which is built on the basis of ‘diversity’.

Second, the Hindu philosophy is mainly driven by ‘individualistic’ ideology. It never believed in a single symbol for god and each god believed to have a unique identity. For example we worship saraswathi for education, lakshmi for wealth, shakthi for power, ganesha for starting anything, Bramma for creation, Vishnu for saving people, Siva for killing bad evils. If we come one level down the god shakthi transform into multiple forms in various states. If she is called as ‘Durga’ in west-Bengal, she is called a ‘Mariyamman’ in Tamilnadu. To put in summary diversity is an inbuilt characteristic of Hinduism.

This diversified nature indeed kept India as a single country. In spite of so many countries invaded us for the past 2000 years, India is still existing. It’s mainly because diversity brings in the important characteristic called ‘resilience’. In today’s corporate and financial world the word ‘diversity’ is valued more than anything else. The more we diversify any the company in terms of products, services, geographical presence, workforce composition, and senior leadership it brings that much amount of ‘synergy’. This synergy brings more strength to the organization. The ‘diversified’ mutual funds tend to generate more wealth in the long term. Even though a ‘focused’ financial portfolio can bring in immediate profits, diversity is very important for long term wealth creation.

According to me, the diversified nature of India needs to be ‘celebrated’ instead of ‘diving’ people in the name of language, caste and culture. By sustaining against various attacks and invasions, India is still standing as a single example for the success of diversity. The collapse of Russia, Germany and Greece is mainly because they tried to promote a ‘unified’ approach which failed badly in the long term. In a way ‘unification’ is against the nature as nature is diversified in terms of various planets, plants, climate, mountains, and volcanoes and so on.

So the next time when you come across any Indian who is speaking a different language or get to taste a different type of food better start ‘enjoying’ it. After all we need to derive strengths from our own roots.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

BOOK REVIEW: The high performance Entrepreneur

Author: Subroto Bagchi
Price: 395 INR

For years I have been a sincere reader of Mr. Subroto Bagchi’s writings starting with his ‘Making of Mindtree’ write-ups. I have read his articles in Business world (Arbor Mentis), Times of India (Times of Mind) and attended ‘Ping-me’ sessions organized by Mindtree. I can very well say his writings are excellent almost everyone would have read his famous speech ‘Go kiss the world’. For quiet some time I was not able to see much of his writings in the media and really concerned about it. But Mr. Bagchi came up with a ‘bonus’ by writing this book ‘The high performance Entrepreneur’ where he shared his learnings which he got from building Mindtree. This book is truly awesome and gave loads of insights into Entrepreneurship.

To start with, Mr.Bagchi coined the ‘high performance entrepreneur’ in this book and talks about how ‘high performance’ entrepreneurship is different from mere self employment of small scale. High performance ‘rain making’ entrepreneurs (people like Murthy, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Azim Premji) created huge amount of wealth which literally changed individuals, societies and countries. The ‘wealth generation’ is totally different from working for a ‘high paying’ job and Mr. Bagchi tells how totally different those two are. Through various examples he tried to explain fundamental traits of an Entrepreneur. In countries like India promoting Entrepreneurship is very vital because 40% of the working population will come from India in the year 2020 and generating employment to these people is very important.

Following that Mr. Bagchi explains various aspects of Entrepreneurship and added his learnings from building Mindtree. He keeps re-iterating statements like ‘If you don’t like making money don’t start a company’, ‘Postponing gratification and feeling comfortable is one of the important factor in Entrepreneurship’, ‘VCs are like matrimony, do your due-diligence before approaching them’ which really opens up reader’s eyes in perusing Entrepreneurship. He has given examples of Café-coffee-day, Air-Deccan, and Biocon and how founders of these organizations got their ‘dhimag ki bathi’ glowing.

Then he talks about building the DNA, Mission statement, vision, annual objectives and value system of the organization. He also re-iterates how personal characteristics of the ‘seed’ team are so important in creating and following the ‘shared vision’ of the organization. After forming the mission statement, the next important thing is to build a ‘differentiation’ for the organization. Mr. Bagchi also mentioned ‘six horses of differentiation’ namely domain, tools, methodology, quality, innovation and branding.

Especially I liked the chapter on ‘Quality’. Generally the software people (who work for CMM level-x organizations) think quality is an ‘overhead’ to the organization where engineers spend lot of time following processes. Mr. Bagchi slams this mentality by saying ‘Only Michal Angelo doesn’t need process. But even if he wants to create 50,000 copies of his own paintings, he requires processes’. He has given many examples based on his experience with Japanese people (who are pioneers in this area) which are really interesting to read. He also touched about choosing investors, building transparent relationship with them, need for choosing an investor who understands the business and also given some basics of finance.

Finally he touches upon the ‘brand building’ topic and given multiple ways to build the brand. The ‘building brand using organization workplace’ concept where is really interesting. He has given multiple examples how they have done this successfully in Mind tree. I won’t be fair on my part to give out complete details. I would suggest the reader to buy the book and read.

People who read by blogs regularly would have observed I personally admire Mindtree and ITTIAM from a long time. These two stand for a high end services and product examples, started by senior folks from Wipro and TI. I call them as ‘second generation’ companies and it is extremely important to learn from experience of these folks. Now that Mindtree’s IPO is on the cards (read my blog ‘Mindtree going public’) Mr. Bagchi has done an excellent job of sharing their experience with aspiring Entrepreneurs by writing this book.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

BOOK REVIEW: I too had a dream

Author: Varghese Kurien as told to Gouri Salvi

Price: 395 INR

Translation in Tamil: Mu. Sivalingam

Price: 150 INR (Tamil version)

This is one of the best auto-biographies I have ever read so far. It is about the life and work of Dr. Varghese Kurien. For people who don’t know who is Dr. Kurien is, just think about the famous advertisement: ‘Amul – The taste of India. He is the man behind the Amul brand and the key person who envisioned, carved and executed the blueprint for the ‘White revolution’. This book consists of his experiences, which is truly inspirational, amazing and mind-blowing. I can easily compare his achievements with Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam’s contributions to strategic and defense sector.

The story starts with Dr. Kurien finishing his Master of Science in Metallurgical Engineering from Michigan State University, which was sponsored by Indian government. As the government sponsored his scholarship, he is supposed to serve the government in return. Because of this agreement he gets ‘accidentally’ posted to a small, dusty, lazy, unknown village called ‘Anand’ (In the Kaira district of Gujarat) and supposed to be taking the responsibility of the government owned milk production department over there. Frustrated with his new job (think of doing masters in metallurgy from US University and doing such a ‘punishment’ job) Dr.Kurien decides to quit his job and move to Delhi to take up another job. In the mean time he meets another visionary personality called Mr. Thirubhuvan Das Patel and he requests him to take care of the co-operative milk society of Anand till he gets his new job in Delhi. This ‘accident’ literally changes his life and this angry, energetic, passionate young man decides to stay in Anand and start building the co-operative society from the ‘scratch’.

In his long journey, he faced innumerous amount of problems from private business houses, government, multinational companies (like nestle) and fought tooth and nails against all these odds. His 35 year effort had literally ‘transformed’ the face of India and today we are number one in milk production. After achieving success by building ‘Amul’, he went on to execute the ‘white revolution’ plan in India which created multiple Amuls across the country. It all started off in 1946 with 200 liter milk production per day to 18 million litters in 2005. The top line revenue is been 2882 crores (roughly about 720 million USD) spanning 24 states, 11,400 co-operative milk societies. This is truly a ‘bottom-up’ revolution.

Even though there are lots of things that can be learnt from his experiences, I would list my top 5 learning's as follows:

Empowerment of farmers: If at all India wants to be a developed country empowerment of farmers is a must. As much as 40% of Indian households rely on agriculture and related areas. Empowering these people to earn basic food, education and healthcare is very vital. This ‘bottom-up’ approach is will result in self employment generation and sustenance which goes in sync with Gandhi’s famous quote: ‘India lives in villages’. No amount of privatization, globalization would help for these folks. Recently this is once again proved with the success of ‘Micro-credit’ concept introduced by Muhammed Yusuf. You can read more about this in my blog on ‘Micro credit and Muhammed Yusuf’.

Professional folks: The young, educated, professional people need to stay in India in order to make something happen over here. Having said that, it is not all that easy because of the way our systems work in India. Dr. Kurien fought against so many bureaucrats, politicians, and private business people in order to achieve his success. This was mainly because he had a good education, which made him to think ‘beyond self’.

Importance of domestic market: Creation of domestic market is extremely important for selling any products. What is the use if we have an array of products lined up and there are no takers? Dr. Kurien understood this right from the beginning and created a domestic market for milk and milk product consumption. He was able to achieve this by offering multiple products like milk powder, child food, pasteurized milk, butter, ghee and sweets like milk peda. He priced those products at affordable prices (failing which you can’t sell products in India) and designed a clear marketing function created the brand ‘Amul’.

Professional management: The ‘professional’ management is the differentiator any organization, which should have a great vision. In his book Dr. Kurien talks about number of individuals who have significantly contributed to the growth of Amul and the white revolution. Time and again he re-iterated that a professional team combined with farmers is really a ‘killer’ combination. The success of Amul and white revolution speaks for itself.

Personal leadership and Innovation: Dr. Kurien has demonstrated personal leadership by ‘leading by example’ which empowered lakhs and lakhs of farmers. I also could see following examples for innovation:

  • For the first time in the world, Dr. Kurien and his team demonstrated that the milk powder can be produced from buffalo’s milk. Since most of the milk we get in India is from buffalos, this created a unique opportunity for Indian milk powders. This I would say a ‘product innovation’.
  • In order to execute the white revolution, Dr. Kurien required huge amount of fund. During the same time developed countries had excess amount of milk powder, which they were giving it to countries like India for free. He smartly negotiated with these folks and started selling the ‘free’ milk powder inside the country for an optimal price. He raised the capital through this internal selling which I would say ‘business innovation’.
  • In 1970s his team invented the ‘milk vending’ machine for the first time and made it work in Indian conditions. In a way this machine is a great grand father of today’s money vending machines (or ATMs). I would say this is an innovation in the area of ‘Distribution and supply’.

I remember six years before reading the book ‘Wings of fire’ by Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam which inspired me a lot and I would rate this one is very similar to the former. In short I would say it’s a must read for people who are interested in doing something for the country. At least it would make you think.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

HP Asia Techcon 2006

Last week the HP Asia Techcon 2006 was held in Bangalore and one of my papers got selected for the same. It was really an exciting experience to be part of the tech-con and had loads of learning. I am not in a position to elaborate on them because some of the information is company confidential. So I am just placing my photograph in the blog.

The Road Ahead – The Smart techie cover story

The month’s ‘The Smart Techie’ magazine has come up with a cover story titled ‘the road ahead’. The cover story about the career roadmap for techies and the problems they are facing. Since I know some of the folks in the magazine, they asked for my opinions and it published it as a part of their story. The complete cover story can be accessed from the link: http://www.thesmarttechie.com/magazine/fullstory.php/ZDRE117725379

I am giving the questions they have asked for their cover story and my answers below:
  1. Can you explain in detail, how do you factor the big trends in technology into your career strategies? Along with your explanation kindly give us a specific instance of how you have done it.
To be very honest I feel the big trends in technology don’t have much impact on individual career. Even though technologies change very fast, the fundamental learning process remains the same. So as long as I have the learning mentality it only had positive impact on career.
  1. Has your position today enabled you to integrate globally? If so how? If not, how do you intend to gain that ability?
The answer is yes and no. Even though we call the ‘world-is-flat’ because of the global outsourcing and off-shoring, there is still lot of limitations to position me globally. This is mainly because of the following reasons:
* The type of technology work we get to do in India is not really cutting edge. Even though we tend to proclaim India is the real hot-spot for product development we sill have a long way to go. There is more media hype than reality.
* We are away from customers and the products we develop are not getting deployed in countries like India. Except for very few exceptions in the mobile domain we don’t have customer centric knowledge.
* The work we get to do in India is more of ‘engineering’ work and other aspects like marketing, sales are not there. Since engineering contributes only 15% of the product life cycle its hard to get an overall product development experience.

  1. Which fields do you think are experiencing the fastest growth?
Any technologies related to consumer and retail segment are witnessing the fastest growth. In the consumer devices domain I can say the consumer electronic and embedded devices, RFID, Supply chain areas are experiencing very good growth.

  1. Which fields do you think are seeing biggest growth in terms of new jobs openings?
Embedded systems, SAP and ERP
  1. Are you dissatisfied with opportunities in your present field? If so, how are you planning to go about it? If not, how do you plan to leverage the emerging opportunities?
No. I am completely satisfied with the opportunities in my present field. I am planning to leverage the opportunities by:
* Keeping a learning mindset and learning the complete product life cycle.
* Achieving excellence in engineering delivery
* Promoting innovation with 100% passion
* Seeking out new product development opportunities.
  1. Which specific segments of the field you are in is growing? Are there job openings in these segments?
I don’t have any specific data for this.
  1. What is that one thing you want to do in 2007 in order to accelerate your career growth? (Kindly explain in detail and why you think so it is necessary?)
I would passionately take the path of ‘innovation’ in the year 2007. Because by innovating new things, will give ‘beyond-cost’ advantage for organization as well as to customers for getting work done out of India. This innovation can be in the form of:
* Coming up with new methods for productivity increase (Say some tools, better processes, automation).
* Suggesting new solutions for existing products and influencing product roadmaps.
* Innovating multiple solutions and marching towards end-to-end product.
  1. If you are a manager, what have you been thinking to communicate to your team members about their careers?
I would like to give the following points to my team members:
* There is a huge difference between job and a career and try to explain the difference.
* Giving a clear vision for the group and how an individual can align his career aspiration with the vision.
* Last but not the least. Leading by example.
  1. How do you relate changes in the economy, changes in the lifestyle of people and changes in technologies to your career path?
There is a huge change because of these changes. The changes in economy and people have really changed the world upside down and definitely have impact on my career. These changes brought in huge change in the way I think about career.
  1. Leaving aside the technology trends, what have you been thinking about your current compensation and what strategies will enable you to monetize on the current trends (maximize your earning potential)?
I think compensation is a ‘relative’ term. As long as I am able to consistently demonstrate my capabilities to my current organization I don’t see any problem happening over there.
  1. Is going to the U.S. still a fascination for most techies you work with? How do you see U.S. experience adding value to your career? If your current employer does not have an opportunity for you to go to the U.S. , then what are you doing about it?
No. Going to US is no more a ‘fad’ among my techie circle. As I mentioned before the US experience might help in understanding customer and connecting with VCs and senior folks. Most of the organizations (Including mine) will at least make sure that we get to travel to the US on business. So I don’t see any problem over there.
  1. In terms of location, which city in India do you think offers more job openings and why do you think so?
Of course Bangalore! It is mainly because of its ‘early mover’ advantage. Many big companies are moving out of Bangalore but for niche areas Bangalore continue to be the hot spot because of the talent pool.
  1. Which city offers you more compensation and why do you think so?
Bangalore. The answer is same as #12

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Yoga part I : An integrated solution

It’s been almost a year since I have started performing yoga. My journey of yoga started off with taking up the ‘Sri Sri Yoga’ course thought by ‘Art of living’ foundation. Also I got some theoretical knowledge by reading the book ‘yoga and prayanama for health’. Performing Yoga has become part of my life now. Even though benefits need to be experienced rather than writing it, I thought of share my personal thoughts about yoga in a series of blogs.

I am not going to give a ‘spiritual’ explanation of yoga but more of ‘common sense’ approach in this blog. Human system can be classified into three parts namely body, mind and subconscious mind and it is important to understand these things before getting into understanding of yoga. The mind is the ‘active’ entity which helps us to think day to day activities. The subconscious mind is a ‘passive’ and responsible for ‘non-rational’ behavior of human beings. It is always active and keeps recording the happenings around. This recording methodology (which can be also called as ‘perceiving’) varies from one human being to another. Different people form different perception towards the same thing and that’s the very reason why human begins are so different from each other. And finally the body is the engine which executes the command given by the mind.

The Yoga is a methodology invented by ancient Indians for leading healthy and happy life. The old traces say ‘pathanjali yoga sutra’ is one of the ancient texts found in this area which traces back to 4000 years. According to yoga, being healthy is all about having a strong mind, body and subconscious mind. So yogic techniques are mainly based on exercising all these three aspects of humans and that’s why I call yoga as an ‘integrated solution’. Other techniques like aerobics, gym exercises and weight lifting only focus on the body portion. Now the next question comes our mind is how yoga techniques achieve this integrated solution? How all three aspects are taken care of? Read on!

At physical level, yoga has got various postures called ‘asanas’. When these asanas are performed, appropriate body portion gets strengthened in a natural way. The natural way is all about placing a particular portion of the body in a posture for a specified number of times in a relaxed way. When a particular asana is performed, focus on the breath is a must. By taking deep, concentrated breath we indirectly achieve a ‘stillness’ by keeping the body and subconscious mind active. The mental portion gets turned because of this and this is the major difference between yoga and other exercise methods. This is the very reason why I call yoga as an ‘integrated solution’. Even in meditation only the mental portion gets conditioned as it is performed quietly sitting in a place. But in yoga along with mental conditioning, body also gets conditioned.

Since the conditioning happens at all three levels, yoga retains the energy in the body. It solves problems of stress, pain, restlessness in a natural, relaxed way. I have personally seen yoga has done wonders for me in the past one year and it has really changed my life. I am planning to write multiple blogs on yoga and I will share my personal experiences in latter blogs.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

The ‘sponsored’ model for software

When Steve Ballmer (CEO of Microsoft) visited India couple of weeks back, he appeared in a TV show in NDTV profit channel. The program name was ‘Bridging 2 Indias’ and Naraya Murthy (Chief mentor of Infosys), Professor Ashok Jhunjhunwala (Professor at Electrical Engineering department at IIT Chennai and a famous personality who is promoting entrepreneurship in a big way) and Mr. Manvinder Singh(CEO of Ranbaxy) appeared in the panel discussion along with Mr. Ballmer. The theme of discussion was bridging rural-urban India using technology and it was really interesting.

For people who are reading my blogs regularly, would have found out that I am a strong believer in ‘empowerment’. It is the only way to solve major problems that India is facing today. In order to empower people, technology would definitely play a very key role and all the panel members shared the same opinion. Having said that, empowering people using technology (mainly using PC) is not all that easy in rural India because of the following reasons:

  1. The English language is popular only in urban India. So if it really needs to reach people it should to be in the local language.
  2. The pricing is always a challenge as rural folks would not be able to afford costly software.

In the panel discussion Murthy proposed an interesting concept called ‘sponsored model’ for software distribution, which I felt makes really sense in Indian context. What is this software sponsored model is all about? How it can be done? Will it be profitable for companies at the same time serve the rural Indians? Yes. It will. Let me give couple of successful examples for the sponsored model:

  1. The success of print media is mainly because of the sponsorship model. Have you ever thought about how newspapers are making profits even if they sell it at very low price (say Rs.2 and Rs.3)? What about GETIT yellow pages who are giving the news paper for free? It’s profitable because the major chunk of revenue in the print business comes from advertisements rather than subscriptions.
  2. The concept of ‘toll-free’ became a big hit because of the reason. When you dial 1-600 number in India (or 1-800 number in the US) the receiver pays for it. Basically it is sponsored.

Now what if the same model can be applied to software? How about having a Microsoft Windows running in Tamil language with advertisements (say P & G, levers, Pepsi, coke, and some local brands) bundled with the software? Basically the software company (like Microsoft) will tie up with various ‘sponsors’ and they will pay the major fraction of the software’s price. This will create a ‘win-win-win’ situation because of everyone benefits in this model. The software companies can access new markets (mainly the rural markets) not compromising too much on the price. The sponsors can reach more set of people which would help them to build the brand by placing advertisements. The rural folks will get the software at much cheaper price. Doesn’t it sound interesting?

In his famous book ‘Future at the bottom of the pyramid’, professor C.K.Prahlad strongly argues that future customers for all businesses are going to come from ‘bottom of the pyramid’ countries like India. I didn’t get a chance to read that book yet, but he has come to the conclusion based on his research. As the developed markets (like US, Singapore) are getting saturated, new products and business models need to be invented for ‘developing’ countries and sponsored model can be applied for software as well. I haven’t come across any companies who have started implementing this model but it really sounds interesting.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Reflections on Innovation

The word ‘Innovation’ seems to be the latest buzzword in the tech industry. Last week Steve Ballmer (CEO Microsoft Corporation) visited India and re-iterated the need for innovation in Indian software companies. From my personal point of view I have been struggling hard to do innovation at my workplace and finally able to see some light at the end of the tunnel. In this blog I am going to share my reflections on Innovation.

Even though the word ‘Innovation’ sounds very flashy, it’s very difficult to innovate in Indian software companies because of the following reasons:

  1. Most of the projects we get to do in India are more of maintenance and enhancement type. Since the technology is already matured, there is little room to innovate.
  2. Since most of the companies are operating in the ‘offshore’ model, engineers are completely kept away from customers. We don’t get to see how exactly the customer is going to use a particular product or service. This also means that we don’t understand customer problems.
  3. Because of the nature of the work we do, the ‘technical career path’ concept is really not taken off in India. Even though all companies are advertising that they provide technical path, many of the senior techies are moved to techno-business kind of role or people managers as they are becoming overheads to organizations today. I might sound rude but that’s the reality. In the part five years I have never seen a technical expert who can design a complete product.
  4. Our education system doesn’t promote ‘learning-by-doing’ and most of us end up mugging up things rather than a hands-on approach.
  5. In India there is no proper industry-academia relationship. Computer science professors keep teaching the same old syllabus with their ‘ego’ on their shoulders and Industry people never bother to make a trip to colleges and giving them industry exposure. Except for IIITs I haven’t seen any other educational institutions actively tied up with the industry.

Cribs apart, let me put some serious thought. According to me innovation can be classified as ‘fundamental’ and ‘problem oriented’. The best example for the fundamental innovation is Boolean algebra. Bool invented this algebra in 18th century but no body thought about its real impact till digital electronics was invented couple of centuries later. Today Boolean algebra (manipulation of 1s and 0s) is the blood of ‘binary computing’. So by nature fundamental innovations are very different and it takes very long time feel the impact.

The ‘problem oriented’ innovation can be best explained with ‘lateral thinking’. In my blog about ‘Lateral thinking’, I have mentioned how an accident caused the invention of thermal inkjet. From the industry perspective this ‘problem oriented’ innovation is the way to go and the same method needs to be applied for innovating from India. I would say innovation is all about finding a customer problem and finding out a solution. These two phases are explained below:

The first phase is all about identifying the problem and validating it. This is also the most difficult phase, which answers the following ‘Why?’ questions.

1. Why this is a problem?

2.Why it is important to solve the problem for my organization?

In fact if the proper problem is identified 50% of the task is over. In the software world, the problem can be identified from the User Interface (UI) to the hardware resister value and every problem has equal value. After identifying the problem it needs to answer a simple question ‘Does this problem makes business sense?’ and this is where the subjective and objective aspects come in. It’s extremely important to validate the problem in a ‘subjective’ fashion rather than objectively. If the problem doesn’t make business sense from the organization’s point of view, it doesn’t make sense to proceed. In fact it’s always better to focus on the problem area that is related to the work or technology or domain we work with.

The second phase is more about solution design and implementation. To put in other words, it answers the following ‘How’ and ‘What’ questions.

  1. How am I going to solve the problem?
  2. How well my solution is going to address the problem statement?
  3. How can I reuse the existing pieces of software?
  4. What are the technologies or software components that are required?
  5. What is the solution design?

This is the phase where the ‘engineering’ aspects of the solution need to be decided. Once it is decided the solution implementation follows the typical design, coding and testing cycles. The above mentioned phases are totally different in nature. This is because in the first phase we use the ‘right’ side of the brain (intuitive part) and in the second part the ‘left’ side (analytical part). The first phase is ‘chaotic’ thinking; second phase is ‘organized’ thinking. In a way I can say innovation is nothing but an ‘organized chaos’.

I have been going through this ‘innovation’ journey for the past one year and it’s been very interesting. I am very much in the initial learning phase but I am enjoying every moment of it. If Dr. APJ Abdul Kalaam and Dr.Varghese Kurian can achieve 'innovation' in defence and milk production areas, the post-reform IT industry people don't have any excuses for not doing innovation. All it takes is passion, purpose and a strong urge to see a meaning for life.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Building Embedded Systems – A programmer’s perspective

The Embedded Systems domain is poised for a huge growth as more and more embedded devices are flocking into the market. These Embedded devices range from small consumer electronic devices (like mobile phones) to enterprise devices (like telecom switches). Even though the size of these devices varies, the programming fundamentals remain almost the same. In this article we will discuss about building blocks of embedded systems from a programmer’s perspective.

Before getting into these blocks, we need to understand that programming embedded systems is very much different from application programming. Also embedded systems programming has a set of challenges because of the following reasons:

1. Embedded systems have very limited resources (in terms of memory, storage, processing power) compared to a general purpose computing device like PC.

2. Because of the less memory availability and requirement of faster response, embedded systems have Real Time Operating Systems (RTOS). These RTOS have flat memory model where all processes in the system run under the same memory space. This will lead to lot of memory corruption and inter process communication errors. Debugging these errors are really challenging.

3. Embedded systems have a pre-defined performance requirements and response time.

From a programmer’s perspective there are four building blocks for any system namely boot-loader, operating system, device drivers, networking subsystem apart from the device’s main functionality. When the system gets powered up the boot-loader is the first program that gets activated from the non-volatile memory. This boot loader will vary from one system to another, because it mainly depends on the way system is configured. This boot loader will in turn revoke the operating system by calling its entry point, which in-turn initializes various operating system services (memory, tasks, scheduler etc...).

Once the operating system services are initialized, all the low level device drivers followed by other subsystems (like networking) are brought up. At this point we can say that the platform is built for the system. After this initialization is complete, the system would be in a position to perform its expected functionality. This functionality will vary from device to device as each system is built for a different purpose. Say for example a router’s main functionality would be to route the packets but a microcontroller’s functionality may be measuring the temperature using a sensor. Finally functionality programming is the main core of embedded system which requires a powerful programming language.

In spite of so many new programming languages, 85% of embedded systems are built using C language. This is mainly because it produces the most optimal machine code. Here is where Data Structure programming plays the critical role. If the above mentioned blocks can be equated to various organs of human body, data structure programming is the life-blood of that body. Without sound data structure programming no embedded systems can be built. Sounds different? Read on.

As mentioned in the beginning of this article, embedded systems have a very limited amount of memory. So using the memory optimally and freeing them plays a very vital role. Since data structures (especially in C) provide this power to the programmers, it becomes the life-blood of the system. If you get a chance to look into the code base of any embedded system, you will come across Abstract Data Types (ADTs) liked lists, stacks, queues and graphs very frequently. Also other subsystems (say for example networking) provide certain interface or framework for programmers. It is up to the programmers to make use of them and build the expected functionality. The networking subsystem provides the ‘socket’ interface and learning it is comparatively easy. But what exactly the programmer wants to do with sockets? How is he going to program the network protocol using sockets? The answer is once again data structures. That’s why through understanding and programming knowledge of data structures is the key building any embedded system.

To conclude understanding the various frameworks and data structure programming are the fundamental building blocks of any embedded system.

Wasteful Consumption Vs self respect

Couple of weeks back I wrote a blog about Muhammad Yusuf and his micro credit concept. This trigged interested discussion among my friends circle and finally we all converged and agreed about a single word: ‘Empowerment’. The empowerment is the only way to solve problems like poverty, illiteracy in countries like India and it needs to be done at all levels ranging from family to government. When individuals are empowered, they get access to information and knowledge which will improve the quality of life. The raise of Indian middle class is a standing example for empowerment.

Economists (Especially ‘swaminomics’) are predicting that economic empowerment will result in betterment. Of course the betterment cannot be achieved in a near future and it will take at last another two to three hundred years. In the mean time it is important that we march towards the future with confidence, pride and patriotism. In these lines one of my senior Alumni Mr. P.R.Iyer wrote an article and sent it to me. After taking his permission I am publishing it below.

As we march into the next decade, we notice that some people due to their, birth, education, culture, race, color creed, religion or other factors grow rich faster than others. But that is how it is, in all walks of life; any artificial attempt to normalize this inequality is fraught with more complex problems. We notice that in our enthusiasm to undo the imbalance we create more knotty problems than we have attempted to solve. What has communism achieved in the last century; it only created another set of well to do folks who exploited the poor. Which communist state has succeeded in eradicating poverty? Mohammed Yunus method of rendering credit facility to the women is a remarkable way of helping the down trodden; while preserving their self respect. If you dole out freebees or you start donating largesse , or you provide artificial quotas you are bound to fail .As somebody said, it is better to teach a fellow to fish than to give him fish to eat

Buddhist economy about which Schumacher(pronounced Shoemaker) talks is mainly to ensure a balance between the extreme ideologies .A rich buyer and a poor seller in a market place continue trade in a situation of bias. Conversely a rich seller and a poor buyer are also in trade to make the imbalance. As the hypothetically equipoise trade where the buyer and the seller are equal on the scales is impossible, the correct method should be to ensure that no body wastes the resources of this planet earth, be it the rich or the poor. On the contrary, they should during their lifetime do such acts that will generate renewable sources of energy .Stop this wild race for swallowing fossil fuel. Mass production is to be supplemented by production by masses wherever the geographical terrain, culture, education, intelligence levels are not conducive to production these should be abandoned. There is no point in producing biscuits in Calcutta and Bombay and transporting to both the cities by wasteful exercise of fuel consumption In stead the region of Bombay should export only such products as are not made in the region of Calcutta and vice-versa The folks of one region should remain contended with the produce within their near about.

Migration of labour to cities should cease. Man gets happiness when he produces goods with his hands or brains. This joy should not be denied by making his job mechanical. Women have a very special place in our society their skills are not inferior to those of man. But the little imbalance that nature has made by way of reproductive capacity cannot be wished away. Girls top in the school leaving exam year after year, women entrepreneurs show great skills. Woman PM of India was more daring than her male counterparts all these, at the cost of neglect of the family. A woman has to be mother first and all other accolades are only to sub serve the first .

In a society where most women go to work one is bound to observe a fall in value system consequent to neglect of the home. A small percentage of women supporting a male workforce is fine ; but if half the women folk leave their primary duty of talking care of children IN THEIR FORMATIVE YEARS or fail to instill a sense of culture , a society will grow which cannot fall back on good values. Already the Scandinavian countries are facing a heterogeneous family system devoid of supportive factors for the old and the infirm, The state can fill this gap at huge cost .Indian way of looking and tending the old has great strength in family .Let us not lose this advantage for a few DOLLARS more

A society is judged by its culture; and not by its consumptive capacity. The very idea of listing names of countries on the basis of consumption of electricity, which the World Bank looks absurd. How can consumption be a yardstick Production can be? What Yunus does is to make the village folks generate goods and services employing their skills with least damage to environment and society therefore he gets Nobel Prize; a well deserved one.

Schumacher’s book talks of this; Buddhist economy is akin to Gandhi or Vinoba Bhave’s ideas. In order that man becomes divine there should be opportunity to all; going to work place should be easy, enjoying work, taking pride on one’s creation leads to respect and self esteem.


Friday, November 03, 2006

Bangaloreit.in – 2006

Last weekend I got a chance to visit bangaloreit.com-2006, an annual IT tradeshow promoted by Government of Karnataka along with Software Technology Parks of India (STPI).

Following are some of the stuff which I liked this time:
IP Zone

This stall was dedicated for ‘Intellectual property development in India’ and it was really amazing. This had about 11 participants who demonstrated their products (Completely developed out of India) and felt ‘special’ when I saw the ‘Made in India’ logo in some of these products. Yes! It’s happening! Products can be completely developed out of India. Following are some of the companies and their products:

a. SemIndia: This Company deserves a special note because it is promoted as a public-private partnership, supported by Government of Andra Pradesh. I was able to see their Broadband routers (One with single Ethernet-DSL and another with multiple Ethernet ports with Wireless) and it was simply amazing. This organization is setting up their hardware manufacturing facility in Hyderabad which is really interesting. Currently lots of embedded product companies are relying on countries like Taiwan, China and Korea for hardware manufacturing. By having this facility in India not only reduces the turn-around time, but also helps to achieve 100% ‘Made in India’ products.

b. Video on Demand: I was also able to see products many products having Video-On-Demand (VOD) support. This seems to be the next big thing where the media is delivered over the any form network like Internet, Cable television. The satellite based delivery of video (as a digital media) would bring in significant changes in India because of the following reasons:
i. Laying cables throughout India is a difficult task as it involves huge amount of investment and regulatory issues. Also satellite network can even penetrate the smallest village without running any cable.

ii. The cable TV network (which is maintained by local goons) will proceed towards consolidation and get organized. When professional players like Tata (who are providing this service via their latest ‘Tata Sky’ product) enter into this segment, it will become better.

c. Others: I could see Video phone platform which is licensed to Original Equipment Manufactures (OEMs). Encore has got their Mobile computing devices with customized Linux. These devices are being used for computer education in countries like Africa. I was also able to see Enterprise routers with integrated data, voice and security.

States and IT:
Various states have put up their stalls about how they are promoting IT by various ways. Following are some of the interesting points:
a. In spite of all problems the ‘Brand Bangalore’ is ruling this industry. Bangalore is the second hottest city in the world (Next to Tokyo) for setting up new shop. This also explains why the city is getting costlier day by day.

b. It’s very clear now! My ‘Sambar state’ (Tamil Nadu) is where the future action is going to be. I got a chance to interact with some of the officials from Electronic Corporation of Tamil Nadu (ELCOT) and they have clearly laid out plans to promote IT in Tamil Nadu. Next to Chennai they are setting up IT parks in Coimbatore, Trichy, Thirunelveli, Salem, Madurai and Hosur. Lands for IT Park are already allotted in Coimbatore and other places the land is almost finalized. They even had maps where these lands are going to be.

c. Gujarat, Kerala, West Bengal and Orissa gave their attendance just by having their stalls. I couldn’t find anything interesting. This time I couldn’t see Andra Pradesh. May be because Mr. Naidu, CEO of AP is not in power?

Other than the above mentioned points, remaining stalls were normal ones. The disappointing point was we couldn’t find any place to sit and have tea. Only grand Asoka has their stall and we ended up paying 20 bucks for a tea.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Optimization to core?

Got this information via my college alumni group. This shows how much optimization can be done :)

Last week I took some friends out to a restaurant, and noticed that the waiter who took our order carried a spoon in his shirt pocket. It seemed a little strange, but I ignored it. However, when the busboy brought out water and utensils, I noticed he also had a spoon in his shirt pocket. I then looked around the room and saw that all the waiter persons had a spoon in their pocket. When the waiter came back to check on our order I asked, "Why the spoon?"Well," he said, "the restaurant's owners hired Anderson Consulting Experts in efficiency in order to revamp all of our processes. After several months of statistical analysis, they concluded that customers drop their spoons 73.84% more often than any other utensil. This represents a drop of approximately 3 spoons per table per hour. If our personnel is prepared to deal with that contingency, we can reduce the number of trips back to the kitchen and save 1.5 man hours per shift."

As we finished talking, a metallic sound was heard from behind me. Quickly, the waiter replaced the dropped spoon with the one in his pocket and said: "I'll get another spoon next time I go to the kitchen instead of making an extra trip to get it right now."I was rather impressed; the waiters continued taking our orders and while my guests ordered I continued to look around. I then noticed that there was a very thin string hanging out of the waiter's fly. Looking around, I noticed that all the waiters had the same string hanging from their fly's.

My curiosity got the better of me and before he walked off I asked the waiter, "Excuse me, but can you tell me why you have that string right there?" "Oh, certainly!" He answered, lowering his voice. "Not everyone is as observant as you. That consulting firm I mentioned also found out that we can save time in the restroom." "How so?""See," he continued, "by tying this string to the tip of ... you know... we can pull it out over the urinal without touching it and that way eliminate the need to wash the hands, shortening the time spent in the restroom by 39%.""Okay, that makes sense, but if the string helps you get it out, how do you put it back in?""Well," he whispered, lowering his voice even further, "I don't know about the others, but I use the spoon."

Sunday, October 22, 2006


Following are some of the books I have read and their reviews. I have posted them in my geocities homepage. Since some of my friends are interested in this posting it as a seperate blog. Read them and let me know your comments :)
Envisioning an empowered nation – Abdul Kalam with Sivathanu Pillai
This is the last by Kalam and it gives a very clear picture of what should be done in each sectors of India. India as a country is very diverse and only the knowledge based economy will help India to become a developed nation. This books talks about agriculture, healthcare, information and communication, critical sectors, biotechnology sectors. He explains clearly what is been done in each and every sector and gives a proposal of what should be done in each sector. This is a very nice book to understand India’s economy in a very top level.

Count your chickens before they hatch – Arindham Chaudhuri
This is one of the best selling books in India. This book consists of two major sections. The first section is more of a ‘Self development’ stuff where the author talks about the ASK paradigm (Attitude, Skill and Knowledge) in order to raise any individual. The second sections talks about the theory ‘I’ management. The ‘I’ stand for ‘India Centric’ management. Particularly I liked the second section where the author mentions that the management policies in any country should be based on the social architecture. He compared the western and Japanese management and gives a proposal for India for which is quotes lots of examples from Mahabharata.

Straight from the gut – Jack Welch
This is autobiography of Jack Welch one of the very well known CEOs of the world. He talks about how he became the CEO of General Electric (GE) and talks some thing about his personal things as well. Things like “Profit, Sell or close” policy, which he applied to each and every divisions of GE, “Churning bottom 15% people” which he applied when we wanted to downsize a particular business is simply revolutionary. One simple lesson, which at least I learned from this book, is neither the organization nor the technology, will give lifetime employment for anybody in any hi-tech industry. Only working in a focused way for the customer will give that.

Wise and Otherwise – Sudha Narayanamurthy
This book contains collection of short stories, which the author wrote in many newspapers and magazines. The author has traveled extensively to the rural parts of India where she met different people in a diversified country India. She explains how people in rural India are having very high value system and leading a self-contained life. This book contains almost 50 small stories. Written in very simple English, this book explains the author’s experiences.

The monk who sold his Ferrari – Robin S Sharma
This is a fable about understanding the real purpose of life. The main character in this book is a lawyer in the US who is very well known in his field. He becomes a workaholic and one day suddenly gets heart attack. After recovering from that he goes to Himalayas in search of Yogis in order to find out the real meaning of life. After learning the same he comes back again to the US and shared his experience what he learnt from the yogis in Himalayas. Wonderfully written book, which emphasizes about the real purpose of life and the importance of following the dream.

Only the paranoid survive – Andrew S grove
Andrew is one of the famous CEOs who lead Intel into the path of microprocessors. In this book he shares his experiences, which can be applied to individual’s career as well as organizations. He explains about how the businesses are affected by many factors which he calls as “10X’ forces. He explains this “10X” force will example of Intel. Initially Intel was into memory chip manufacturing. When the computing industry changed from vertical to horizontal, he made Intel to quit from the memory business and move to the microprocessor business. He also talks about how important it is to listen to lower level employees and the importance of leadership in crisis situations.

Awakening Indians to India – Chinmaya yuva Kendra
This book is a kind of manual, which serves as a manual to know more about India. The data in this book is a collection, which talks about India’s contributions to the world as well as achievements of India in various areas like arts, science, education, management, leadership, medicine, engineering etc. This book can be used as an index and on depending on the interest of the individual one can read more about any particular topic.

Accidental Entrepreneur – Puneet Srivatsava
This book talks about the Entrepreneurship and its components. The author explains the two components Strategic thinking and focused action with the help of the Krishna-Arjuna example in Mahabharata. The author gives some kind of ‘To do’ list for each topic which becomes boring to read. Anyways this is a good text to learn the basics of entrepreneurship.

Who says elephants cannot dance – Louis V Gerstner
This books talks about the historic turnaround of the IBM. In the 1990s because of the changes in the computer industry IBM was losing ground in the PC business and their mainframes business was going down day by day. That time Louis Gerstner took over as CEO of the IBM Corporation and made some revolutionary changes, which made IBM to come out of, lose making. The mentions about the changes he made into the organizations like making the IBM to become more service oriented, venturing into the e-Commerce business and changes in the performance evaluation system etc.

Who moved by Cheese – Spensor Johnson
This is a very small and wonderful story about change management. The couple of characters adapt to change and move ahead in life, whereas the remaining two characters are not accepting the change and end up in losing. Irrespective of age this book has got a very strong message.

The HP way – Dave Packard
Dave Packard, gives an insight of how he and his friend Bill Hewlett built the Hewlett-Packard Company. Both of them started the company in a garage, which was declared as the ‘Birthplace of Silicon Valley’. More than the company’s background the management practices that was followed in the company became very famous and became the popular ‘HP way’ of management. This book gives overview of Management By Walking Around (MBWA), Management By Objectives (MBO), Trust on individuals, which are building blocks of the HP way. This book also explains how the inkjet printing technology was invented in HP, which was an historic breakthrough in the area of digital printing.

Six thinking hats – Edward De Bono
Six thinking hats is a method, which can be applied to any group, or individual thinking by which the thinking process can be made in a parallel and more organized way of any given situation. The ‘Objective’ white hat thinking, ‘Negative’ black hat thinking, ‘Innovative’ green hat thinking, ‘Positive’ yellow hat thinking, ‘Overall’ blue hat thinking, ‘Emotional’ red hat thinking are the building block of the six thinking hats. This book also gives an introduction about the ‘Lateral thinking’, which is more of innovative thinking and suggests some methods for the lateral thinking.

Men are from Mars women are from Venus – John Gray
This book explains about the why men and women behave the way they are. It starts with a small story what the men are from mars planet and women are from Venus planet and the characteristics of the people in that particular planet. Because of the very reason that the people are from different planets they totally behave in a different way. This book is a must read in order to understand the behavior of the opposite sex.

The wings of fire – Abdul Kalam
This book is autobiography of Indian president Abdul Kalam. He starts of from his life in Rameshwaram, where he born and brought up. By seeing stars on the night he developed a passion for the space. Later he worked for DRDL, ISRO and he explains about how he and his team went ahead and built the indigenous security systems for India. He also explains about the dreams of Satish Dawan and Vikram Sarabhai, which motivated him a lot. He quotes examples from Thirukkural, Bhagavath Geetha and Kur-an, which give a philosophical touch to the book. In simple words ‘Wonderful, inspirational stuff’.

You can win – Shiv Khera
This book is about motivational kind. The author talks about the confidence building, self esteem, motivation, subconscious mind and habits. In each chapter he explains each concept with simple and easy to understand stories. Also he suggests some tools and action plans at each chapter, which can be used as a manual. This book I believe is the ‘First Book’ one should read in order to pull him out of socks and start working towards the goal.

The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho
This book is a fable about following individual’s dream. Santiago a Shepard finds about his dream, which is to get the treasure in Egypt. The Alchemy is a methodology, which was mastered by some people in the Arabian countries by which one can transform any metal to gold. Learning this methodology was not very easy and it involves lots of patience and persistence. Guided by one of the Alchemist the boy goes through huge number of hurdles and finally attains his dream.

India Unbound – Gurucharan Das
This is an excellent book talks about the socio-economic aspects of India. This book starts explaining about India’s history from 17th Century and how the British -Raj ruined Indian Economy in the earlier times. Then it talks about post independent economic in which India taken a back seat because of Nehru’s socialistic democracy. This the author calls as License-Raj. So starting from 17th century to 1991 British-Raj and License-Raj has almost done most of the damage whereas the western world capitalized the Industrial revolution and became super powers of the world. The author gives a very good picture of how the economic reforms in 1991 is reshaping India and leaves the hope of a brighter and better India going forward. This is one of the wonderful books I have ever read. I strongly recommend this book for all young Indians.

The Infosys Founder – N.R.Narayana Murthy
This is a small book about the Infosys Technologies founder N.R.Narayana Murthy. The good thing about this book is it is written in such a way even a school going boy or a girl can understand how Murthy built his software powerhouse with a 10,000 rupees investment in 1981. It also gives Mr. Murthy’s perspective about India and its society. Nice and crispy book!

Ignited Minds – Abdul Kalam
This is another wonderful inspirational book by Kalam. Even though this book is written for young school going children of India it gives a clear idea about achievements of Ancient Indians. It includes the invention of number ‘Zero’, Aryabatta’s achievements, Leadership qualities of Gandhi, India’s achievement in the defense and strategic sectors etc...

Competing for the Future – C.K Prahlad and Gary Hamel
This book is about the future strategies that organizations should think about in order to compete in the global world. The material given in the book shows the extensive knowledge of the authors in the management research. This book gives various examples from the past where companies capitalized certain opportunities which others missed. One exciting example they give is about NEC which capitalized on the Computer and Communication boom. I would enjoy this book more when I am actually going the management.

Rich dad poor dad – Robert Kiosaki
This is a very good book talks about basics of financial literacy. The author calls his dad as a poor dad who spent his life working for someone else and calls his friend’s dad as rich dad because he ran his own business and became rich. The book gives a basic framework for wealth generation by dividing the money idea into revenue, expenditure, assets and liabilities. Rich people become richer by making their revenue more and more by investing in assets whereas the poor invest in liabilities and suffer. Excellent idea but explained in a simple way. In some places he mentioned as if studying and getting good grades is not a good thing which I cannot agree.

Secret of software success – Harvard business school review
This is a book written by Harvard business school folks along with some consultants. These folks studied successful habits of many software companies in many places and came up with common observations. Ranging from hiring good people to using nightly builds this book covers extensive topics in the Software engineering area which is a good read for people working in the software industry like me. In some places I felt like some contents are repeated again and again but overall it’s nice to read.

Silicon valley greats - S.S Kshatriy
This book is a case study made by the author about successful Indians who brought in significant changes to the technology industry. This book contains people like Chandra, Kanwal who in 1990s built organizations that has literally brought a revolution in the Silicon Valley. This book also gives enough information about India based entrepreneurs like Narayana Murthy and Pradeep Khar. The author met these people in person and compiled the information in this book, which makes this book unique.

WINNING – Jack Welch
After retiring from GE, Jack went on world tour and met various people from all parts of the world ranging from youngsters to chief executives. Almost all discussions with them boiled down to one simple question “What it takes to win ?”, Win as a team, organization and individuals. In this book he talks about how to shape the Individual career, organization and strategies which lead to winning. Especially the “Your Career” portion I really loved it as I can co-related it to my daily work.

How buffet does it
Warren Buffet is the second richest person in the world next to Bill Gates. He earned all his money by investing in stock market. He basically introduced the concept of “VALUE INVESTING”. This means investing in businesses which has got real values and not thinking about short term benefits. This book consists of 24 powerful lessons of VALUE INVESTING.