Friday, December 31, 2004

Happy New Year !!

Wish you all a very Happy and a prosperous New Year !!!

Happy New Year !!

Wish you all a very Happy and a prosperous New Year !!!

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Dan Brown - An Alistair Maclean

Dan Brown is certainly a modern day Alistair Maclean (or a Desmond Bagley at the least), though much much more flamboyant. I've just finished reading his book "Deception Point" - it kept reminding me of those school days when I used to eat, sleep and breath Alistair Maclean - the same pace, the same interesting turn of events, the same sense of adventure and the same surprise at the final turn of events. The only difference seems to be that Dan Brown keeps choosing hotshots like the US Prez or the Pope in his settings and the heroes invariably turn out to be a couple who fall in love at the end, unlike the undercover spy and the lonely hero in AM. Anyway, he has still quite a career ahead of him and shows the same promise that makes immortal action writers and gives good grub for eager readers like me.

Friday, December 24, 2004

Merry christmas !

Had a good dinner today at Blooms - a new restraunt here. Good food but pretty costly. Then came back to attend the mass at midnight. A well conducted mass by Father Jesurajan. An memorable quote by him - "Pray with your hearts, not with your head".

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

To boldly explore where no explorer has gone before

Came across this beautiful article by James Cameron on Wired: The Drive to Discover. Ya - the guy who made the Titanic. He makes a strong argument in pursuit of the spirit of exploration. Maybe the time as come, as StarTrek used to say, to boldly go where no man has gone before :D.

Two beautiful quotes from his article:
"NASA is still blinking in surprise, trying to figure out why people love the rovers yet care less about the construction of the International Space Station than a new interchange outside Cleveland. It is only now sinking in that one is exploration and the other is, well construction."

"Exploration is not a luxury. It defines us as a civilization. It directly or indirectly benefits every member of society. It yields an inspirational dividend whose impact on our self-image, confidence, and economic and geopolitical stature is immeasurable."

2004 Global Influentials - Balaji Krishnamurthy

Balaji Krishnamurthy, the CEO of planar systems has been voted as one of the 2004 Global Business Influentials by the CNN.
Article: 2004 Global Influentials
Interestingly, it seems he's very similar to Azim Premji in his chaste habits. He books the cheapest rooms in hotels and 4 yrs ago had designed a bonus system in his company that rewarded him the last. Looks like Indians are showing the world what is chaste corporate governance.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Investment Banking - a liar's poker

Just finished reading this book called the Liar's Poker by Michael Lewis. Oh man ! what a book - of salomon brothers, of the human piranha, of meriwether and gutfreund, of ranieri, of what goes on in trading rooms of i-banks, of investor sentiments and moods, of michael milken (of drexel burham and the junk bond markets), of the foolishness of credit ratings systems which use the past to predict the future, of MBSs and LBOs, and finally of the importance of maintaining a sense of detachment when you make money. On the way, it also gave me a broad overview of what is actually investment banking. Simply one unputdownable book, a must read for anyone remotely interested in how finance works at its "high" pedestals.

One memorable quote from the book:
"We own a hundred million dollars of your bonds", said Milken, "and if you miss one payment, we'll take the company away" - Michael Milken, junk bond king at the height of his fame

Monsoon derivatives

Looks like weather derivatives based on the monsooon are finally entering India. Infact its quite surprising they took so long to come to India, considering the size of the effect the monsoon has on the Indian economy - almost anything and everything in India has linkages with how well the monsoon does in India - haven't seen a single economic survey or report on India not mentioning the monsoon. So monsoon derivatives market has a very huge potential. I think the delay was due to the relative non-sophistication of Indian financial institutions and the financial market. But it does seem to be changing and all for the good I suppose. Monsoon derivatives, if used properly, could actually prop up India's GDP growth at times of fluctuating monsoons (as this year).

Article in today's Business Standard Page 9. Apparently RaboBank and ABNAmro have been the first to introduce these in the market in India. Internationally the weather derivatives market is supposed to be approximately $12bn.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

cold december pain

brrrr... this is reaaalll winter. For poor souls like me who originate from the sweltery domains of chennai, this is like being put in the freezer... if it were not for bishuda, i dont' know how i'd survive these nights... must be around 12/13 degrees i guess.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Fodder for the belly and the mind

Had a good dinner tonight at the Maharashtra Mandal here - was a special day, so they gave a good feast - real good food :D. Then came back to read a book called the "Liar's Poker" by Michael Lewis - pretty famous satirical book on the investment banking industry - I cannot stop myself from laughing at every line - awesomely well written book.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

holiday time

In the piddly 2 days of hols we have, i've decided to catch up on my movie watching :P

Saw 7G yesterday night - pretty strong movie must say, and really good songs - particularly "Kan Pesum Varthai", has really beautiful beats and lyrics. But must follow that up with something hilarious to clear the mood always - like say "Dhool" ;D.

Friday, December 10, 2004

painful memoirs

Today, had my last 5th term exam in the present schedule on m&a. Till yesterday my exams seemed to be going well - infact so well i've never had a better term here till date - but today, got pained as hell - whoa! - one bouncer of an exam. never before have i been so perturbed by an exam. impermanence beta - nothing in this world seems to everlasting :P

Friday, December 03, 2004

Return (eh.. control) without risk !

An interesting article in the NewYorkTimes today. An interesting tactic has been employed in a recent takeover where a hedge fund obtained controlling stake without holding any economic stake in the company. Apparently Perry Corp, a hedge fund having a controlling stake in King Pharma which was subject to a takeover bid by Mylan Labs has obtained controlling stake in Mylan by means of a complex swap transaction with Bear Sterns and Goldman Sachs. They seem to have bought the shares while making GS and BS to sell the same stake short - and removing risk for both parties through a swap. Cool eh :D

Article: http://www.nytimes.com/2004/12/02/business/02place.html

Friday, November 19, 2004

Hedge Fund management - a sinecure ?

Fiercefinance calls them "Masters of the Universe". The NewYorkMetro likes to call them "filthy stinking rich". Either way - hedge fund managers seem to have replaced investment bankers as the way to riches in the financial industry. As this article in the NewYorkMetro says:

"The bottom guy made $65 million last year, which happens to be more than the combined pay of the CEOs of Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, and JPMorgan. 'Never have so few made so much', announced Institutional Investor. Even the manager of a smaller fund, someone like Zach's boss at Pirate, which has $200 million in capital, is in line to make more than the CEO of General Electric, the fourth-largest company in the country."

"Thus, last year alone, something like $40 billion flowed into the hands of hedge-fund managers which is, on average, close to $6 million for every single person who opened a hedge fund.

And that's not the top. The top is staggering. Institutional Investor reported that George Soros, perhaps the most famous hedge-fund manager, earned $750 million last year and that's real money, not stock options."

Sunday, October 31, 2004

Vela Time

Having quite a bit of free time in the last few days, have been upto no good :P
- listening to songs of 7G Rainbow Colony - Some are pretty good - must say yuvan shankar raja's done a good job - heard that the film is quite a rage in Chennai now.
- watched coupla movies: alien vs predator (nice movie - good action), kakka kakka (had missed it when it came out - pretty good movie), Pretty Woman (again missed it - cool movie!)
- heard Swadesh is coming out in tamil as Desham - will watch :D

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Learnings from an awesome game

Have just come back from playing 'Market Mayhem' - a floor-trading game held as part of Ensemble 2004 by FINAX (the finance society at XLRI). There is just one word to describe it - AWESOME! - had such great fun and learnt so much, I feel it should be used in every bschool. Some very interesting learnings....

Knowledge IS Power: The game involved trading of stocks and index futures using an open outcry system. The stock trading part was cumbersome and most stock holdings hardly gave returns due to low liquidity. However, one part most people in the game did not capitalize on was the huge potential gains from using index futures. Most of them thought index futures was some high funda thing and never bothered about it. By virtue of the fact that a couple of teams including mine had atleast basic knowledge of futures markets, we were able to make huge profits, without trading much. The gap between the index and the prevailing futures prices somehow was very huge - meaning that huge gains could be made out of an index arbitrage strategy.

Market inefficiencies do not last very long: The game involved 3 sessions. While we could make good profits in the first, we were unable to sustain this as slowly everybody started observing our behavior and imitating it so that index arbitrage became almost impossible. This, even in a market where we had 50 teams!

Demand and supply has higher effect on stock prices than do news: News clippings were periodically flashed on the screen. However, barring the initial time, the market totally ignored all news flashes, and price became determined by a few people. I believe this was because of the short time period involved (each session involved just one hour). In the short run, all price movement is hence demand and supply based.

Some other interesting observations:
1) Towards the close of the final trading session, market volatility increased heavily. Infact, it became so crazy, we stopped using futures trading altogether as we could no longer predict movement of the market. This is interesting because it comes very close to we see in real stock markets during panic - in this case, people who were losing tried all kinds of crazy buy-and-sell tactics - as everyone became desperate to increase their portfolio.
2) For the first time, I could see convergence of the futures price to the stock price - it was awesome seeing theoretical stuff in real life. At the final time, when markets became very volatile, you could see the futures price actually "chasing" the index. - really cool :D

Three cheers to FINAX for an awesome experience \:D/

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Equity and Debt research merging ?

A recent article in the investment dealer's digest talks about how lines are increasing merging between equity and debt research. Aimed at gaining higher efficiencies and presenting a single front to the customer, the move is happening slowly at major Wall Street firms and big banks like Deutsche.

Saturday, October 02, 2004

The Rise of the Amateurs

In this awesome article - Amateur Revolution on FastCompany, the author gives examples of Linux, Sims and the Grameen Bank to show the rise in importance of amateurs in almost all fields.

An interesting quote -
"Knowledge is widely distributed, not controlled in a few ivory towers. The most powerful organizations will enable professionals and amateurs to combine distributed know-how to solve complex problems."

Friday, October 01, 2004

BillG on computer science and outsourcing

Bill Gates, at his recent talk to students at UCB, seems to have told them that computer science is the career of the future (coupled with biology that is !) - accrdng to him biology would be a future sister science to CS. Think he was talking about the recent trend in bioinformatics. Interestingly, he also seems to have talked positively about outsourcing - in his words "not like war with one winner and one loser". Another interesting statement - "China and India are big change engines for the years ahead... that's the path forward"

Article at: Two Words from Bill Gates: Computer Science

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Citigroup getting new CFO

The business standard reports that Citigroup has announced that Sallie Krawcheck would take over as CFO replacing Todd Thomson who moves over to head Smith Barney. At 39, becoming CFO of Citigroup is real cool eh :P

Sunday, September 26, 2004

XLRI wins XL-IIMC 2004

Wohoho !!! - We've just won XL-IIMC 2004. Awesome, considering we managed to beat them in both football and cricket.

"Life is like topography, Hobbes. There are summits of happiness and success.. flat stretches of boring routine.. and valleys of frustration and failure. But I'M dedicating myself to experiencing only PEAKS!"
- Calvin and Hobbes

Friday, September 24, 2004

Lehman Ranks 1st in Fixed Income Research

According to recently released Institutional Investor Rankings, Lehman Brothers has Ranked 1st for the 5th consecutive year. It is followed by J.P.Morgan and CSFB in order.

XL-IIMC Meet 2004

The XL-IIMC Meet 2004 begins tomorrow. The jokers :P of IIMC descend on XLRI at 1am tonight. We hear that 5 busloads full of orcs are on the way, but the fellowship of XL hath no fear. For 2 days, the battlegrounds shall rumble. The rain gods seem to have given their blessings - we have a quick shower in progress at the moment. :D.

"A day may come when the courage of men fails,
when we forsake our friends
and break all bonds of fellowship,
but it is not this day.

An hour of wolves and shattered shields,
when the age of men comes crashing down,
but it is not this day.
This day we fight!"
- Aragorn: LOTR, Return of the King

Professors

Prof. Mohanty writes on his blog that the focus on research is the reason why US Bschools are at the top of their genre. This "publish or perish" mentality is however, often at the cost of quality teaching time. Adding to that - profs as i see fall into 3 basic categories: 1) those who have awesome knowledge but are shoddy teachers (the kinds who keep bowling bouncers well above the head :P and never come down to those of us mere mortals), 2) those who are wonderful teachers but somehow their breadth of knowledge is limited and 3) best of both worlds - very good teachers and very knowledgeable too.

The first variety are, as they say, "dime a dozen". The second, not so many, but the membership to this category depends on perceptions (mostly decided on how well they are able to stand up to questioning etc.). Third, the real gems, are very rare to find. Feynman, i believe used to be one.

The problem lies in 2 aspects - teaching is a totally different job altogether from research. Teaching does not require immense knowledge - it only requires the ability to bend down to the level of those who do not know and the ability to lead them in the right path - in that sense it is a more people-skills thingy. Research, on the other hand, is more about stretching the boundries of knowledge - in that sense its more a mind-power/effort game. Feynman kind of guys fall into a category of people who amazingly seem to have obtained the right balance of both.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Ensemble 2004

Ensemble 2004, XLRI's bschool fest is scheduled between Oct 15 and 17th. Online registrations have begun.

Visit [http://www.xlri-ensemble.com]

Monday, September 20, 2004

Cat bonds

In view of the recent hurricanes devastating the carribean and florida, catastrophy bonds seem to have gained prominence - an article in the NyTimes.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

A9.com

Have been testing out A9.com (thanks to gautam) - Its a search product with a difference - keeps track of history of searches & provides a diary feature - to keep notes on any page we visit - but all stored online. Don't know how they'd maintain privacy though - but this product owned by Amazon is a very possible google-killer. Infact, the search results and the speed seems to match google !

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Deutsche Bank - a hedge fund run by an Indian ?

Found an interesting economist article: A giant hedge fund: says Deutsche is on its way to become a huge hedge fund - given its reducing focus on retail banking and very highly risk investments - infact says that the popular joke in Frankfurt now is that its actually run by an Indian bond junkie Anshu Jain (head of markets). Its VaR seems to have shot up in recent periods and it has also invested heavily in hedge funds - infact runs its own in-house hedge funds. Finally an interesting insinuation:

A ?passion to perform?, Deutsche Bank's current slogan, does not translate into much more than a passion to make money for its investment bankers. Two banks which previously lived by that motto barely survived: Bankers Trust, which made a practice of putting clients second, was forced by regulators to merge with Deutsche Bank in 1999; and CSFB, which carried on the tradition until a regime change in 2001.

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Economic and Market Conditions

The business standard headline today screams "Inflation might choke growth: RBI report" and goes on the say that crude oil concerns, insufficient rainfall and growing global interest rates might increase inflation and put downward pressure on GDP growth this year.

Interesting in the context of a recent project report I had to prepare in the FIS course on bond trading strategies in post july 2004. Post july, there has been a huge volatility in the bond markets particularly in the short and long ends of the yield curve. Interestingly, we found that this volatility is a direct result of signals of the market stabilization scheme of the RBI. We found significant volatilities in the yield curve on Aug 17 and 26th - on 17th, the govt conducted an open market operation for 9000 crores and on 26th, it increased the MSS to 80K crore from 70K crore - suggesting that the MSS is actually destabilizing the market instead of its expected result in the short run. In the long run - there would actually be beneficial effect.

Its indeed interesting to see the effect of such signals by the RBI on market conditions. Today, crude oil is again on the upward path. Plus, today's RBI report and the news that SBI is raising its fixed home rates by 50bps - it would be interesting to see the effect of market volatilities.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Behavioural Finance Paper

Found this paper on Behavioral economics online - an awesome intro to the possible future of behavioral finance:

Behavioral Economics

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

An Interview with Merton Miller

Found an interesting article -
An Interview with Merton Miller - the famous Nobel laureate - the Modigliani Miller theorem guy.

testing image uploading through picasa - That's Xl when it rains :P. For those behind firewalls use http://www.hello.com/support/hello.php

Sunday, August 22, 2004

Spyware nuisance

Having a big nuisance with spyware, they seem to get installed automatically while i browse. Is really sick - seems to be a bigger problem than viruses. Apart from key loggers, they slow down the system and put up arbit pop-up windows while one is doing something.

Found a good spyware remover too from Webroot software called Spysweeper: http://www.webroot.com

Saturday, August 21, 2004

Sonia named the world's third most powerful woman

Well, sonia's namesake seems to have been crowned the world's third most powerful woman - Sonia world%27s third most powerful woman - so what will sonia do ? :P

i-banks on a hiring binge in europe

According to this recent business week article: Investment Banks Are Hiring In Europe: investments banks are on a hiring spree in Europe. But unlike earlier times, the hiring is focussed on niche area specialists - derivative whizzes, ABS security specialists and private-equity and corporate-debt experts. Seems that the i-banking industry is on a high in europe. Well what does it bode for us ? :)) - nothing

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

AXIOM Seminar

We had the Operations Management Seminar by AXIOM - the ops society yesterday - went off very well.

Article in The Hindu BusinessLine:XLRI student society to focus on operations management

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Citigroup tactics

Ha ha - looks like Citigroup has done a interesting raid on the European bond markets. According to this Times Online article:
Markets board meets on Citigroup raid
Citigroup on Monday sold more than 11 billion euroes worth of european government bonds in 11 markets on 13 different trading platforms. This forced prices down. After this Citigroup bought back 4 billion euroes worth of bonds causes losses to rivals worth around 800,000 pounds - :)). That's Citigroup pushing the system to its limits again. :P

Sunday, August 15, 2004

Murderous workload

Whoever said the second year of a bschool is chill should be murdered - this semester is the worst i've gone through till date - not one day goes by without a test or an exam and hazaar submissions or presentations. And it's so long since i've slept properly - and today's supposed to be the independence day and a sunday :( - am just waiting for this sem to get over and go home :D

Thursday, August 12, 2004

The World's Biggest Bank formed

Article on Forbes: Forbes.com: Update 6: Mitsubishi Tokyo, UFJ Agree to Merger Deal

With the Tokyo High Court removing barriers in the merger of Mitsubishi Tokyo Financial Group Inc. and UFJ Holdings Inc., the stage has been set for the merger of the World's biggest bank - the Bank would be called Mitsubishi UFJ Holdings. With combined assets of 190 trillion yet ($1.7 trillion), it would surpass Citigroup ($1.19 trillion) in assets.

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Aravind Eye Hospital

Have been doing a case on the Aravind Eye Hospital. At the end we were shown a short movie clip on the hospital. Must say, was really moving.

Imagine, a retired man at age 58 starting a hospital, providing free service to patients who cannot pay, with the aim of eliminating unwarranted blindness - today, is the world's largest eye hospital and the most effective one too. And that too without a profit-making aim !! Takes all capitalist theories for a toss, eh :P

Citigroup going gung-ho on derivatives

Citigroup seems to be giving a real push to their derivatives business. They've recently made a $225 mn purchase of Knight Trading's option business.

Article: Citigroup to Buy Knight Derivatives Unit

Seems very recently it had also become an electronic specialist on the CBOE. It also recently announced that it was buying Lava Trading. Knowing how meticulous Citigroup is, looks like they've spotted something :P.

Sunday, August 08, 2004

Netscape's IPO Humor

We've been doing a case on the Netscape IPO valuation - came across this interesting piece - it's simply too good to resist:
Netscape's IPO

Some snippets:

Another "savvy investor" calls in:
Caller: Can I talk to the Chief Financial Officer?
Finance: I'm sorry, but he's traveling until at least August 9. Is there something I can help you with?
Caller: Well, I heard your company was going public and I was wondering if you could tell me what that means.
Finance: Well, that essentially means that our company will be trading a
certain number of shares of our stock on the stock market, which will raise capital so that we can expand our business.
Caller: What's the stock market?
Netscape: Dah....


Visitor: Older man in a tennis outfit came into the lobby requesting
literature.
PR: Can I help you sir?
Visitor: (Excited) I'm going to be a SHAREHOLDER!!
PR: Fantastic.
Visitor: I'm here to get some information and take some pictures.
PR: Pictures of what?
Visitor: The buliding, people. I've already taken some pictures outside.
(In his hand he was holding a yellow throw away Kodak camera.)


LOL

Saturday, August 07, 2004

XLRI: Helping The Non-govt Sector

Financial Express Article on SIGMA (Student's Initiative Group for Managerial Assistance)...

Amidst a hectic academic session, students of XLRI, have gathered to provide voluntary consultancy services to non-governmental organisations (NGOs), not-for-profit organisations (NPOs) and small & medium scale enterprises (SMEs).

Working under the umbrella of Students? Initiative Group for Managerial Assistance (SIGMA), the would-be managers are ready to help those who are helping others. The mission, among other things, according to Prof Biswatosh Saha, faculty coordinator, SIGMA, ?is to promote the involvement and commitment of students to contribute to society through effective means of participation and to enhance leadership, managerial and entrepreneurial capabilities of non-profitable organisations (NPOs) and private sector initiatives on the social front by developing management consulting (with a high level of project responsibility) as a powerful tool?.


Read more...

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Doom 3 is out

Wo-hu-hu!!! - Doom3 comes out today ! :P

article Technology Review: Much-Anticipated Doom 3 Finally Complete

IIIT Convocation Update

Update from The Hindu:
"The third convocation of IIIT saw 176 students getting their degrees."
"The Union Minister for Communications and Information Technology, Dayanidhi Maran, on Saturday said the country's IT, software and services industry would capture 6 per cent of the global market by 2008. "

"The Chief Minister presented the IIIT Gold Medal for outstanding academic performance to Krishna Pratap Reddy and Banyan Award for technological support activities to P. Srilakshmi and P. Vandana"

Congrats Guys!!

Monday, August 02, 2004

AXIOM - Press Release

The Telegraph - Calcutta : Jamshedpur:

"Xavier Labour Relations Institute (XLRI) has decided to set up a new association to promote operations management and foster professional growth among students.

The aim of the Association at XLRI for Industrial and Operations Management (AXIOM) will be to raise awareness, interest and knowledge about operations management among XLRI students within and beyond classroom. At present, the institute has various associations, including the Marketing Association of XLRI (MAXI) for developing skills in the area of marketing and the Finance Association of XLRI (FINAX) to provide students with practical training in finance.

Taking a cue from the success of these associations, the institute is gearing now up to launch AXIOM, this month"

Corp Finance Link

Home Page of Aswath Damodaran

Sunday, August 01, 2004

The Search Wars Begin

In right earnest that is: MS has entered the field in full offensive. Note Steve Ballmer's statement on July 29th:

?There's a lot of Google fascination out there and we share it, and we're going to compete," Ballmer said with characteristic bluster. "We're going to compete very, very hard."

Article: The Microsoft Offensive : HindustanTimes.com

Waves 2004

Have just come back from attending this program called Waves 2004 in the Tata Audi. Amazing! - that's just one word to describe it. The program showcased talent amongst school children from Jamshedpur. It had seperate classical and a contemporary sections. And my god, talent in the guys was amazing. Of particular notice was a band called 'zeitgiest' - raw talent.

At the end of the program, the XL band (The Bodhitree), composed of juniors and boka on the drums gave a performance - rocking, it certainly was amongst the best I've seen from the guys.

Saturday, July 31, 2004

Prof. Mohanty's Blog

Prof. Pitabas Mohanty - one of the best finance professors at xlri has started his own blog!

Prof. Mohanty's Blog

Friday, July 30, 2004

Wetnite dancing:Professional Dancing::Blogs:Websites

Actually, not just wetnite dancing, but any disco dancing. Most people on the dance-floor hardly have co-ordinated steps, for that matter hardly dance 'well' - but still there is so much enthusiasm in the dance that it makes up for all that is missing. Most blogs, similarly, hardly have grammatical prose, but still the enthusiasm makes up for all that. Wet-nite dances are about dancing in groups, allowing oneself to 'flow with the beat' - blogs similarly draw on huge network effects - many of them involve inter-comments (quite unlike individual websites). Finally, dancing on the floor in a wet-nite comes to almost anyone - one needn't be a professional dancer - no one's looking at you. Blogs, similarly, are in the reach of all and sundry - no one cares what jabbering you put into them - and they are much easier to make than websites.

As a concluding observation, maybe both are outcomes of the individual's desire to express himself, to have fun - to be himself and to break free from society's need for 'professional' conduct. :P

Blogs - A Disruptive Technology ?

Today, in the 'Business Value of IT investments' class we had been discussing disruptive technologies. I was pondering on the question of whether blogs are a disruptive technology and what a coincidence ! - came across an article with exactly the same title while browsing for something else. The article is an absolute gem.

Article available at: "Blogs as a Disruptive Technology"

The article is by a lawyer and has appeared in the January/Feb 2004 edition of Law Practise Management.

Going by what the author writes, there are very strong reasons why blogs are a disruptive technology:
a) people are not sure at first how a disruptive technology would be beneficial - same thing with the business usage of blogs - people are still experimenting.
b) it has potentially disruptive effects on existing technologies - the author argues in the paper that weblogs are going to change the way webdesigning is done - in fact goes on to say that blogs are going to make web-designing obsolete !! - now that is 'disruptive'.
c) they bring a different value proposition to the market than had been available before - blogs vs websites exactly - any tom-dick-and-harry can create a weblog and become an online journalist.
d) disruptive technologies have features other fringe customers value - businesses do not value blogs that much now but that is going to change in future as they shift over from websites to blogs.
e) products based on disruptive technologies are more convenient to use, are cheaper, simpler and smaller - woho! - anyone who has made websites before will attest to this fact - imagine putting up a professional website in 3 mins! (something blogger says a blog can be put up in)

Incidentally, some other interesting advantages of blogs that the author points out to:
a) Weblogs attract clients to businesses - websites he says frequently do a poor job at this 'Generating' function while weblogs.
b) Perform like Corvettes, while looking like Corollas :P
c) Much more cheaper than websites to make and maintain.

As an addendum to the article is an interview with the author. Found an interesting argument among the benefits. The author says that writing about a new case or ruling on his blogs helps him understand the real implications of the case. Now compare this with the concept of stratals we learnt in the creativity class. (for those who don't know, stratal is a mechanism wherein descriptive writing about a particular object improves our awareness about it and its uses and thereby increases the possible creative uses you can put it to or improve it). Now note how blogs are acting as a stratal mechanism :D - are they a new route to creativity ??

Finally, an interesting comment the author Erik J. Heels makes in the article:
"Blogs are the most important development since the web itself" :D

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

TAXI Dinner

Amazing ! I can't find words to describe the dinner. Have just come back from the TAXI (Tamilian Association of XLRI) dinner at Mad-sam. And this was a real saddhi. After so long, I've got such wonderful food. Really wish I had a bigger stomach. 15 different food items ! - particularly the chakara-pongal and aviyal - oho :D. And this time was different from the last - this time we served 3 rounds instead of the buffet we had last year. And it was a wonderful experience.

Three cheers to our TAXI chief VC(Vijay Chandrashekar) for a well conducted saddhi. \:D/

Monday, July 26, 2004

Wikiholism

Have been on wikipedia - both in learning and adding content. However, only now have been exploring wikis per se. As an intro - the power of wikis, in the words of wiki.org - lies in:

"Allowing everyday users to create and edit any page in a Web site is exciting in that it encourages democratic use of the Web and promotes content composition by nontechnical users."

Blog++ eh.

Further wiki info shall be added on my bloggrok page.

Thursday, July 22, 2004

Misfits ...

how many times have you felt that you are a misfit in your environment ? The feeling of living in a parallel universe - as all of humanity streams around you - with you lost - not knowing what you seek, not knowing what is the path ahead, moving like a zombie ... is a very funny one...

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

DreamWorks Animation IPO

Dreamworks - the Animation Group behind Antz, Shrek and Shrek2 has filed a $650 million IPO. Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan are lead underwriters. Major shareholders include MS, Paul Allen, Howard Schultz and Roger Enrico. Interestingly, the company has posted profits only once - in 2001.

Story at CBS Marketwatch

humbling experience

A Bschool is, above all, a deeply humbling experience - don't know how many times I keep finding this out - its been more than a year now that I was made painfully aware of it - but I still keep thinking about it every new day... maybe it's because of the fact that we come of such a wide variety of backgrounds - everyday is something new to learn.

Thursday, July 15, 2004

What is Strategy ?

Have been reading Porter's seminal 1996 HBR article with the above title - an interesting point: says strategy is making trade-offs while competing. The essence of strategy is choosing what not to do.

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

3rd Convocation of IIIT on 31st July

The 3rd Convocation of IIIT-Hyderabad will be held on Saturday, 31st July at 11 am. The Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh Dr YSR Reddy will be the Chief Guest, and the Union Minister of Communication and IT Mr Dayanidhi Maran will deliver the convocation address. The ceremony will be held at the IIIT campus.

IIIT-Hyderabad to host IJCAI-07

The International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence (IJCAI) is being held this year at IIIT-Hyderabad from the 5th to the 12th of August. Participants include Edmund H.Durfee, Gal Kaminka, Katia Sycara and Munindar Singh. More information can be obtained from the Hyderabad-Multiagent Systems School website.

Way to go IIIT.

Now is too late

Have been reading this book called "Now is too late" in the past week - a really beautiful book - picked from the library. The book talks about how organizations should manage media opinion in an era of Instant News. I'd written an earlier post about the misuse of media power. In this context and in view of things that we've been through in the past month, I found the book extremely relevant. It gives particular insights about how should one manage public relations when u've activists biting at you :D.

Some interesting points (selected at random from the book) which I thought are worth noting:
"A lie is halfway around the world before you can get your pants on"
- Winston Churchill

To compete in an increasing crowded media environment, media organizations have increasingly turned to "infotainment". News is often designed to fit a predetermined formula that is not dictated by the information, but by media's understanding of the audience's need to be entertained. It is a blending of information and entertainment that results in public information being packaged in a way that resembles melodrama. To continue to pretend, as so many do, that news reporting is anything other than a business of gaining and maintaining audiences is deceptive.

"You only have one response to make a first impression" - every subsequent story will follow the line of original response or contradict it.

.... there is a very disjointed debate as both sides spar. The company/organization under attack focuses on the facts and carries on the discussion in a fairly formal, professional tone. The activist on the other hand ... the nature of the discourse is frequently much more personal, informal, passionate and ambiguous.

- reminds of something eh :P

Today, the Internet, much more than a means of publicly presenting information that audiences can "pull", has the ability to proactively "push" information and in the process build audiences or communities around shared interests. It is this ability that activist groups have used to great effect.

Some interesting points about blogging:
"What amazes the mainstream media about the bloggers is how quickly they've established themselves"

Some new rules of the media:
- Bad news can be controlled by opponents and politicians and frequently has a long life
- Speed is more important than accuracy
- credibility depends on getting to the media first, do not wait for them to call
- Proactively supply information, even about the smallest of incidents

...the only hope you have of managing perceptions is by communicating. To choose not to, or to communicate too slowly for today's instant news requirements, puts your message in the hands of others. Those others might have agendas quite contrary of your own.


Finally, a good learning:
The best defense is a good offense :D


Tuesday, July 13, 2004

End of Good Ol' Hacker Days

Have been reading this Wired Article ...

Its a commentary on the recent Hackers on Planet Earth (HOPE) convention with speakers including Steve Wozniak and Kevin Mitnick. Hacker community is facing significant change with the US govt crackdown in the form of the Patriot Act and recent corporate litigation. Good Ol' hackers seem to feel that the days of free hacking - when one could take apart a system just to show its flaws and get away - stuff that has brought computer science and the internet to what it is now - is over.

People no longer seem to view hacking/exposing product flaws as technical wizardry - it is more associated now with crime. Maybe it is because of the influence of cracking on hacking. Hacking (as a term and as a concept) originated from the labs of AI MIT as a means for the wizards to show their talent - by exposing flaws in the existing system. Somewhere, over the course of time, the boundaries between hacking for fun and hacking with malintent (read cracking) became fuzzy. Today, the meaning of the word 'hack' is more associated with the later. Sad but True :-/

Google to list on Nasdaq

According to this Yahoo News Article Google has decided to list on the Nasdaq Stock Exchange. Its coming out with a $2.7 billion IPO later this year.

Friday, July 09, 2004

The Saturn Mission Images

Have been viewing the Saturn & Titan images from the Nasa Cassini-Huygens Home - real cool pics - particularly the Titan Surface views.

Monday, July 05, 2004

Prez Kalam advocates open source

President APJ Abdul Kalam's advised the defense scientists to shun proprietary systems and opt for open source codes in defense networks so as to minimize dependence and increase security.

Article in the Hindu

Online forums eh ?

From Prof. Madhukar Shukla's Blog

Group-Think in Online Chat Groups

Internet is a great democratic medium. But I stumbled on an interesting "real"(/virtual)-life event - a particular online discussion forum - during last few days. Searching for an explanantion about what was happening in this forum (what would look to be a case of collective pathology), led to some interesting resources about what can happen in an Online Community.

Gordon Graham in his book, The Internet: A Philosophical Inquiry [see summary], makes an interesting observation about the online groups, and their "pure confluences of interest".

Graham says that the internet is a medium which enables people to seek out exclusively kindred spirits and to avoid ever being exposed to views which are contrary to their own. He claims that... "the self-made philosopher with a grand but completely vacuous 'theory of everything' will sooner or later find a coterie of people whose knowledge and critical acumen is even less, but who are willing to be impressed."

The Symptoms of Group Think are:

1) Illusion of Invulnerability
2) Belief in Inherent Morality of Group
3) Collective Rationalization
4) Stereotypes of Out-Groups
5) Self-Censorship
6) Illusion of Unanimity
7) Direct Pressure on Dissenters
8) Self-Appointed Mind-Guards

Give the nature of the self-selection in most online chat groups, these symptoms are quite likely to emerge.

Friday, July 02, 2004

India's Digital Village

In a previous post, I'd said about the Businessweek article about how India's digital revolution is affecting the rural masses. Interestingly, today Slashdot has run the same story as its first post. Obviously it has received very interesting comments.

Some of them:

One person referred to an Economist Article about how encouraging adoption of IT in the developing world would have consequences beyond those philanthropic. Some interesting notes from this...

These technologies are part of HP's ambitious plans to sell to the 4 billion poorest people at the bottom of the global economic pyramid. In addition to work being done at the HP Labs, the company has also invested resources in its “e-inclusion” initiative, a project designed to set up “Digital Villages” and “i-communities” around the world—the former are philanthropic projects, the latter strategic market investments. Several centres—in India, South Africa, Ghana and Brazil—have already been established.

All of this activity could easily be mistaken for yet another philanthropic effort to bridge the “digital divide” between rich and poor. But that is only part of the story. Anand Tawker, the head of HP's e-inclusion efforts in Asia, speaks of a “blended strategy” that creates social benefits at the same time as boosting HP's brand and sales. “In the process of creating social value, there is also a profitable return to HP,” he says. “Doing good and doing well are not mutually exclusive.”


Whether philanthropy is the reason for the compaies like HP investing in developing countries or not - the result is its helping us a lot :D.

However, there are some very interesting (and adverse) posts as well - particularly motivated, I believe, from the outsourcing issue... People have made comments saying "India is not the way to go-reconsider" - that India's caste system! and our politics are pathetic.

There also seems to be posts pointing to particular instances of where Indians could not do an IT job properly or did not possess proper communcation skills - and using these as excuses to say that India is - i quote - "just a shabby country as every other country".

Ofcourse, quite a few Indians seem to have fought back these cynical comments with pointed answers :D.

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Visual Studio 2005 Beta Express edition free download !!

Wow ! MS has made available a beta editon for hobbyists and students called the Express edition of the latest Visual Studio 2005. And its got a version of SQL Server 2005 too :D - Am surely going to have a look at it.

Available at http://lab.msdn.microsoft.com/express/default.aspx

Monday, June 28, 2004

Removed stuff

There's been too much of mud-slinging on my personal blog - so I've decided to remove it.

Sunday, June 27, 2004

The Digital Village

Found an interesting article - The Digital Village - in businessweek on how India's digital revolution is slowly percolation down to the rural masses by providing them accruate digitized land records and various other facilities. Hope this "digital divide" that we have in India now gets bridged soon.

Saturday, June 26, 2004

Five point someone

Have been reading "Five Point Someone" - a cool book by Chetan Bhagat - its the story of 3 friends who screw up their studies in IIT Delhi - but instead have a host of experiences from one falling in love with HOD's daughter to breaking into the Prof. room to steal answer sheets. In the process, they form a strong bond of friendship and have quite interesting experiences. One the whole, the writing makes it quite hilarious reading material and would be quite nostalgic for anyone who'd been through similar college experiences.

Friday, June 25, 2004

BillG to blog soon :D

According to a seattle times article Bill Gates is to start his own blog soon. Quite possible, he's been on the forefront of most innovation in the infotech space - I doubt he'd let this pass. Some interesting comments on the article though - "Which country should I buy today ?" :P :))

internal musings on MS future

Found quite a few interesting internal MS musings on its demise while reading the
msdn blogs

The blog entry's at http://blogs.msdn.com/sandyk/archive/2004/06/25/166048.aspx

Sandy goes on to give an optimistic view of the future of MS, though the entry seems to contend that internally MS employees seem worried about the future of the company. Well come to think of it - which employee in a company in the position of MS will not ?

How MS develops its software

David Gristwood has posted on his blog 21 Rules of Thumb on how MS develops its software. Pretty interesting stuff, particularly the focus on teamwork and the need for continuous assessment. Quite an interesting read for anyone in dev or in tech mgmt.

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Googlism for: vasant

Some interesting ones...

vasant is the time when mustard fields are yellow with it the spring is ushered in
vasant is the season when nature is at its beautiful and bountiful best
- i agree, i agree :D

vasant is country communications director in india of the association for international business inc
- i sure do hope so

vasant is also pronounced as basant
- hey not me !

vasant is a small element of a much larger turning away from things which are indian or persian in language or culture
- really ??

vasant is a great service and a great value
- "of" instead of "is" would be better :P

vasant is the period between the time when the sun enters the meen rashi
- thatz news

vasant is also the producer of the onzou records - what is it !!!

vasant is a first - yo man
vasant is in the airship - which one ??
vasant is tied to his fate - that's for sure
vasant is indian and was long time the right hand of shree - whoz this shree ??
vasant is the way out - yo :P
vasant is yet to respond to the protest - which protest :o ??

vasant is a first generation hindu
- next gen. would be better :)

vasant is not the only one quitting ranbaxy
- when did i get in eh ?
vasant is an 180 14001 certified company
- now thats not me
vasant is also involved in curating exhibitions
- i have indeed diverse interests i do not know of :P

vasant is involved with both the scottish and the english health surveys - since when ??
vasant is suresh wadkar's guru - whoz this guy !!
vasant is a former ranji trophy player and respected cricket historian and author
vasant is an expert on obesity
- whoa :))
vasant is touring entire ap to select the right kind of theaters
- to show what ??
vasant is only able to travel home to his farm at weekends
- eh... where is this farm of mine ??
vasant is said to be the prince of all seasons
- YO
vasant is homesick
- not yet
vasant is the owner and general manager of the hotel
- TAJ ??
vasant is looking for unconventional funding sources
- sure - very true
vasant is replying to this message
- this is sure mindreading :D

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

A new year begins...

My second year at XL began yesterday. Its great being back at this campus - and lots of juniors around.

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

On Pune

Thought I'd give a seperate entry for my views on Pune ...

Pune is a wonderful city - an amazing place to live - very green, clean roads, great places to hang out, nice multiplexes, good pubs - what more does one want from a city. I'm pretty impressed by this place. If you can just find a perfect house to stay - and one'll find many - you'll have quite a confortable existence. It aint as crowded as mumbai - but u'll find quite as many cars and rich people around. Food-wise, it is just THE place to be - the eateries serve everything from the best south-indian food to the best parathas (aalu, mooli, what not) i've had till date. You also get to buy books at the cheapest rates - the footpath book stores - particularly in the deccan area - make even footpaths great loitering places. On the overall - this place must surely be in the consideration set of any guy wanting to look at a place to live.

Blogging from Pune station

Well, me back again - this time blogging from Pune station. I've got my train at Midnight - which gives me 2 hours of free time to spend browsing :D - and a pretty cool cafe at the station. Well last few days have been pretty interesting. Citigroup shifted to new premises at Pune - on the day of my presentation - so it was quite a bit of confusion - but the presentation went on well. Last few days its been raining cats and dogs here at Pune - all roads flooded.

Friday, June 11, 2004

I'm back

Well, I'm back after so long - primary reason being that I've been too busy with the project. Now that its done and I've just got my presentation to finish, I've kinda relieved. Have been around quite a bit past few weeks - went to XL alumni meet at Mumbai Leela, then went to Aurangabad as part of my project for 2 days meeting clients, then went over to my relatives place last weekend for my birthday. But most of the time has been spent in office staying up late to finish my project - but whew ! - it's done :D. Amongst other things, saw the film 'Yuva' at e-square - pretty neat film, but not quite the Maniratnam level stuff - but still quite an interesting experiment - has taken up an interesting topic.

Sunday, June 06, 2004

Happy Birthdays

Today is my brother's birthday and mine too! - Happy Birthday Rajan.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Everything is Impermance

Old buddhist saying....
Never believed it as much as I do today - for today a person I had believed to be the most golden ever - showed that he too was capable of snobishness... sad.

My project's headed the vella way :P - sad too - kinda worked pretty hard at it - but what do i do - time dilation sucks.

Am changing staying location tomorrow morn. - moving in to a Citi guy's flat - from Deccan to Mundhwa - two ends of the Citi - impermanence at work too :)

Sunday, May 23, 2004

On foreigner origins

There's been so much talk about being ruled by a foreigner, that I think I should put in my opinion too. Personally, I feel that a person's place of birth or background should have no bearing on his capability - what does it matter where I am born, how good I am is all that matters. And now that she's been in India for so long, I don't know what makes her a 'foreigner'. Come to think of it - the issue raises some interesting questions - I for one, have now been outside my home state - Tamilnadu - for half my life now - am I a tamil or not ? I really do not know - in fact something that strikes me when i interact with guys from my homestate - i hardly understand their lingo. Now tomorrow if I were to stand for election, could I do it in TN - after being so long away ? Am I a Tamil or not ? Tomorrow, just like our fathers' wandering jobs made us travel all over the country, our jobs might make the next generation wander all over the world - the Sonia Gandhi issue might just be the start to a cultural change. As our society evolves, it is also necessary that our viewpoints evolve to match the change.

Thursday, May 20, 2004

Fresher's Gettogetther

Had a freshers get togetther yesterday - must call it more a gettogetther of our batch - since it was 4 of us vs 2 of them - doesn't reflect too well on the juniors though - could have atleast informed us - still had a great time

Monday, May 17, 2004

Tim Reilly on gmail

http://www.oreillynet.com/pub/wlg/4707

Exposure with Control ?

Wired has this article on this interview with author Jeffrey Rosen about his book called the 'Naked Crowd'. He seems to argue that people do not mind surveilence getting more intrusive as long as they have a greater sense of security. In the interview, he says that people do not care about privacy per se, but about whether they can control the conditions of their privacy. He puts up an interesting observation about people not minding putting up personal stuff in blogs but resisting surveillance cameras. I agree with one another of his observations - he says that people only care about privacy when they are themselves affected by it - very true indeed - I would say that goes for almost anything - we give a damn till it affects us.

On travel in crowded buses

One interesting learning I've got as a result of my past one month of summer internship is about formal shirts - never wear plain shirts (particularly white). My white formals are all dirty now - pale brown. Even the dhobhi doesn't seem to wash them properly. I'll never forget these days - it's really interesting travelling to-and-fro for half an hour sitting between a beggar on one side and fat woman on the other wearing white vanheusen formals :P

The excitement of a market crash

Today was worth being in office today, especially before lunch. It was an interesting view of the market bloodbath - the sensex fell 800 points - the biggest intra-day fall in its history. The excitement was palpable - within an hour of my reaching office, there were gasps all round the office - first 300, then 500, then 800 points - everyone was shocked. The RMs ran around attending calls from clients - everyone was pleading with their clients to not panic and to take a 'long term' view. There were teleconferences going on all round the office with headquarters in BKC debating the reasons for the crash and the strategy to be followed. With the markets being forced to shutdown at 11.30 for 2 hours, everyone was waiting with bated breath the outcome of the start of trading.

There was quite a bit of relief as the markets recovered at the start of trading once to resume the swing till the came to rest 500 points down - quite an interesting start to the congress regime...

Sunday, May 16, 2004

Google's Official Blog

Google has launched its own official blog. Check it out at
http://www.google.com/googleblog/

XLRI Alumni Party

The XL Alumni Party, Mumbai is scheduled on the 29th of May at Leela (Andheri, near the International Airport). All Xlers welcome.

For further details contact
Irwin Preet Singh Anand
(irwin.preet@unilever.com)
09870208006

Nimit Khare
09870165260

Saturday, May 15, 2004

Mumbai calls

Me in mumbai now. Have come over for the weekend for some talks at Citi as part of our summer programme. Had the talks yesterday. It was really great - got a lot of insight about i-banking and credit cards. Moreover this weekend is a real welcome break from the monotony of going to work 6 days a week. Will leave for Pune today evening. Mumbai is real damn hot and sweaty. It has the Chennai swelter :(. Syko's got a PPO from NSE-IT. Must be a record - his guide is real impressed with him. It's the earliest i think anyone must have been offered a PPO. He's been with the company only for a month now. Such a great news.

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

CBN's defeat

Rather shocking to know of the shock defeat of Chandrababu Naidu. Can never think of that state without him.

About the new blogger

Wow! the new blogger really rocks. Am happy they got the comments feature in - this was one thing blogger really lacked. And the new templates are real cool. Changed mine too :D

Monday, May 10, 2004

New additions

Found an interesting blog: http://ajaysthots.blogspot.com/ - an xler! - how I wish I knew more of the Exec-PGP guys.

An a cool website http://www.valuemanagement.net - courtesy dhunta

Saturday, May 08, 2004

IIM vs ISB

I found some very interesting writing in Ramki's blog (archives- which make interesting reading incidentally :D).

Quoteth
IIMs vs ISB

If the heading made you sit up, I am not surprised. I was just going thru the forums at coolavenues.com and was amazed at the carnage. There seem to be a big crowd from other bschools who are extremely sensitive to ISB and its hype, to some extent justifiably so. Some amazing messages, mudslinging that does no good to anyone...

IIMs are the premier bschools in India. No doubt. ISB is not yet there. ISB aims not only to be there but to be among the best in the world. But it needs to tread that path for sometime to come before it can reach the target. There has to be a difference between a bschool that has an established reputation for decades and one that is just 3 years old. I simply dont see why people want to compare apples and oranges.

ISB has big plans. It has great backing from industry and academia. Spirited sincere students who want to make it big in life. All the essentials for a new school wanting to make it big in the world. But when you start a school saying that, "we aim to be the best in the world in a few years", you are indeed creating hype. That hype has been interpreted by many as readymade international placements, a great course that is going to beat the blues out of IIMs in the rankings and fantabulous salaries. Lets get practical. Building an institution takes time. Rome was not built in a day. But to make it big, we need to dream big first. Then back is up with inspiration, perspiration and sincere honest effort.

IIMs are the place to be if you will not be satisfied by anything but that high flying IB job in the US. Contrast that with the opportunity to build an institution. Example: This year, ISB will host the first ISB leadership summit. From the first step of conceptualization to drawing up budgets to roping in sponsors, media partners, travel partners to even co ordination to website creation to logistics management to convincing some of the best minds in the world to take time off their schedules to come to ISB during those 3 days, everything has been done just by the students. Mind you, even the idea came from one of us. No extra money was awarded for this effort. We had to manage by pooling available money for the different clubs. We had to bridge the deficit with sponsorships. We had to negotiate the rates for everything from advertising to publishing to every little detail. All this has been managed by numerous teams of student volunteers who have been working for the past 3 months, day and night. In fact, it is only now that we are in some shape and we have tonnes of work ahead. All this in the middle of arguably one of the toughest schedules in a bschool. Now, being a student of ISB, i know I do not stand the same probability of getting an international placement as say an IIM grad, but is that first placement everything. What matters to me more is the experience I have got by participating in this massive effort to create something big from scratch. And we did not have a legacy to learn from.

Going to a bschool is a personal decision. One has to weigh everything from costs to what is important for oneself before taking a decision. Clearing CAT or GMAT does not make anyone great. It is being able to keep ones cool when the situation demands, knowing what you want and the ability to work relentlessly towards that goal that differentiates. I care a damn if you are from ISB or IIMs or any bschool. If you are honest, hard working, sincere towards your goals and smart enough to recognize opportunity when it knocks, you will go places.

Blog additions

Me on a blog-visiting trip - i seem to find the blogs much more interesting than the websites i used to frequent. Moreover, the exponential increase in bloggers seems to me giving me enuf grub to read :D

Today's additions:
Liju's blog - http://indyan.rediffblogs.com/ - am pretty impressed - a very nice blog.

S-Anand - http://www.s-anand.net/ - well it's wrong to add it this late since this was one of the first blogs i ever visited, have been frequenting his site well before i wrote my MBA entrances.

Maverick - http://maverick.pagalguy.com/ - a real 'neat' blog :P

Ramki (ISB class of 2004) - http://gyaan.blogspot.com/ - real nice to find a blog on life at ISB.

On Placements from S. Anand

Found an interesting link from Anand's blog - http://www.geocities.com/root_node/articles/placement.html

Saturday

Saturday, saturday, what a boring day !!! - people should think I'm crazy, but what the heck - i'm damn bored - work seems more interesting :P - atleast i'd have something to do. It's particularly boring living in a huge city when you do not have friends and you have seen most of the city. I'm staying real late in office these days - even behera is surprised - but i'm bored. Moreover, there are so many interesting things to read on Citi's intranet that office seems more interesting than out :P

Friday, May 07, 2004

Orkut

Got invited into Orkuttoday, pretty interesting stuff. For one, the exclusivity method - google seems to have made this a habit - the concept of making social networks by inviting only friends. They are trying this with gmail now too - we get opportunities to invite our friends to join gmail.

Saturday, May 01, 2004

May Day

Today's a holiday in Maharashtra - had the day off ! yahoo - behera left today morning to thane to visit a friend. Hence got up late and went visiting to Saras Bagh around 11 am. The place is pretty close from here at Deccan. Went to the Ganesha temple there. The place is very beautiful. As the name implies, it is a garden at the center of which is this beautiful Ganesh temple. The moorthy is really beautiful and set in white marble. I was pretty impressed by the temple. The remaining part of the day I spent at my periappa's place. Had such good food after a long time :D

Friday, April 30, 2004

Summa'h blogging

Looks like all bschool blogging phenomenon is going into an overdrive these days. Have found a veritably large number of bschool bloggers.

- starting ofcourse with Venkat - from IIML - seems his summers with Pepsi at Bangl have sparked his travelling instinct :D.

- pritesh from IIMK seems to be enjoying the fashion industry for his summers with GE and Gurgaon.

- sathish also from IIMK seems to be enjoying (his hotel room atleast :P) for his summers with TVS Motors.

Happy Birthday Appa

Today is my dad's date and star birthday - Wish you a very happy birthday Appa !

Thursday, April 29, 2004

MS getting serious about Linux

Yaahoooo ! - atlast Linux seems to be shaking up the world - atleast the big brother - MS. Seems in an internal strategy memo sent on the 28th to all MS staff worldwide, Steve Ballmer has specifically cited out opensource and Linux as growing threats. Whoopie - what a change since the days when it was another tiny weenie OS - the saying by Mahatma Gandhi is true - that 'first they ignore us.....atlast we win' (:P) stuff - after years of ignoring it - it is coming into the league of the big boys :D

Linuxworld has some exerpts from it:

Noncommercial software products in general, and Linux in particular, present a competitive challenge for us and for our entire industry, and they require our concentrated focus and attention

In the event of needed enhancements or fixes, the Linux development community, no matter how well intentioned, simply cannot advance Linux the way we can - and must - innovate in Windows

Venkat's blog

Added Venkat's blog - don't know why so late though - have been seeing it since yore

Junior blogs :)

found two blogs of xl juniors :D - riju (http://crazyaboutmba.blogspot.com) and Surya (http://durs.rediffblogs.com) - must say - the level of blogging in xlers is growing by leaps and bounds

Saturday, April 24, 2004

aurangabad

had been to aurangabad the past few days. The place is damn hot. Was lucky got to stay at the Taj and could move around in a car (courtesy: Citigroup :P) - but had lots of work - couldn't even enjoy a swim at the pool. Hope when I go next i'll have more time.

Gmail beta account

Wow ! Google is offering a beta gmail account to all bloggers ! yahoooo :P. Just got my own gmail account. Found about this from santhosh - a fellow iiitian

Monday, April 19, 2004

Lodge

I live in a rather disgosting :P lodge in Pune called subarnalekha - mosquitoes galore :( - can't sleep at night at all - don't know how behera manages though - seems immune to any mosquito bite :P

Cell Phone

Bought a samsung-c100 phone yesterday. Really cool stuff, with polyphonic ringtones and color screen. For just around 6.5K ! - cell phone prices have really fallen. Now amma's c220 is available for 3.5K - imagine that, when she bought it a year and a half back it cost her over 6K. But it's cut quite a bit out of my summer stipend :( - however, not all that bad, atleast i'm in touch with my friends and parents all the time now :D

Summer Time

hi,
Blogging after a loooong time. In pune now. My summers started a few days back. Had an initiation session at the Citigroup Center in Mumbai on the 13th. The buildings really beautiful, its security so tight even mosquitos will have difficulty entering. But Citi people are really helpful and nice. Its quite a contrast with what we've often heard about from others about Citigroup - that's its filled with aggressive people. True, aggressive and hardworking people, but really nice people. That goes for the Citibank branch here in Pune too - I've never met such helpful people before. Even though they've so much work to do, they go out of their way to help me :). My project guide took me out for lunch yesterday! - I'm touched. The project is lot of work. Let us see how it turns out.

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Ah blogging after a loooong time.

OB2 end semester ended today. Did well. :)

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

On Ethics

Some interesting thoughts...

Ethics has become a subject of great discussion of late. However, no one has any clear idea on what is ethics and what are its limits. Definitions such as they constitute the fundamentals of morals or law are clearly grandstands. Ethics has close connections with culture. Hence, what might be ethical for you might not be ethical for me and vice-versa. For example, one might feel that downloading music of the net is all cool, but another might consider it unethical. The reason I took the example of the Internet is to illustrate how much ethics is dependent on cultures. The interesting thing about the internet is its vast spread. And the speed of its spread was so fast that it was the first enabling technology of its scale that allowed people from totally different continents and cultures to interact at so intimate a basis. The ethical dilemma that we face in the process of downloading music or movies of the net has origins in this cultural interaction.

Of course, there were other factors like people coming into access with the technology for the first time and hence not realizing that it was unethical to pirate stuff. But, the continued increase in music downloads illegally and of the usage of cracks and pirated movies, despite people becoming increasing aware of its unethical nature points to the fact that it is inter-cultural interaction and the consequent fluid definition of ethics that is responsible for such dilemmas.

Another issue is what makes people raise the issue of unethical behavior in the first place. I believe that the origins of such protest lie in the Equity Theory. When people see others take advantage of systems or their loop-holes while they cannot, either due to lack of awareness or due to inability, they feel an inequity. It is this inequity that results in ethical 'grandstands'. A good example is the issue of music downloads. When music companies realized that users all over the world were listening to songs, their inherent feeling of inequity kicked in. Similarly is the issue of scams. When people realized that someone else was making money, whether it was at their expense OR NOT, people raised a hue and cry on unethical behavior. Coming back to the example of music downloads, why is it that ordinary people do not complain about such illegal downloads and only music companies raise a hue and cry. Now, one must remember that these 'ordinary' people constitute very well read individuals (the common perception of a nerdy school dropout downloading pirated music is but a myth) - sometimes with even Phds and MBAs !. Why do they not consider such piracy as unethical behavior while making all kinds of noise about the need for ethics in business and everyday life. It is because the issue is one of perspective. What is unethical for some is ethical for others.

Ethics is about a perspective of what is right and what is wrong. And who are we to decide what is what :D

Friday, February 13, 2004

Services Work

It's been hard work the past few weeks for us in the Services Team of CRP 2004. We've been working pretty hard it, and earning lots of kudos from all for the work we've been doing. This is mainly due to the super-enthu guys in our group, especially patra, abhinav, avartan and ofcourse our GSec - the high and mighty ;) Pai. But it's 2 days to go to CRP now... the assessment centers have been going on since the beginning of this month, pretty hectic time for us fellows. We've been given a week's break to get this CRP off smoothly. I just hope the next 4 days will go off peacefully.
Some interesting comments from The Work Foundation - iSociety - a site devoted to research on the effect of ICT in UK.

Gives lots of info on the emergence of blogging, its effect on the spread of politics, use as a free talk radio and like. One interesting sentence :

The blogsphere is an example of Willard Quine's coherence theory of truth: that things are true if they agree - or appear to agree - with other things that are held to be true.

- The spread of 'like' truth :D
XLRI's website is updated. Have a look at it here.
I'm proud since I was part of the team that made it :)

Friday, February 06, 2004

Blogging on If Only for a Night, Wall St. Fallen Idol Is One of the Boys

An interesting article about Kappa Beta Phi - one of the most mysteriously secret societies in Wall Street - a club of the choicest of finance professionals.

Says "The sole purpose of the society, which claims more than 250 of Wall Street's executives and former chiefs, is to allow some of the biggest egos in finance to poke fun at themselves and to induct new members in a campy rite that dates back to 1929."

Seems The top officers are referred to as Grand Swipe and Grand Loaf, and its motto is Latin for "We Sing and We Drink." Members are strongly encouraged to maintain a bond of secrecy with regard to the club's rituals and the fun that is had at member's expense.

Some more interesting stuff At the dinner, part of the tradition is for the members to hurl dinner rolls at the inductees as they perform their song-and-dance numbers. The club takes its performances very seriously, and inductees are provided with coaches to ensure that the skits are carried off with at least a modicum of professionalism.

Quite like our OMAXI :)



Blogging on Sir Karl Popper "Science as Falsification," 1963

Pretty interesting stuff - came across when I was prepping for the BRM exam tonite and needed to know about the theories of falsification and verification. Some exerpts...

A theory which is not refutable by any conceivable event is non-scientific. Irrefutability is not a virtue of a theory (as people often think) but a vice.
Every genuine test of a theory is an attempt to falsify it, or to refute it. Testability is falsifiability; but there are degrees of testability: some theories are more testable, more exposed to refutation, than others; they take, as it were, greater risks.

Astrology did not pass the test. Astrologers were greatly impressed, and misled, by what they believed to be confirming evidence ? so much so that they were quite unimpressed by any unfavorable evidence. Moreover, by making their interpretations and prophesies sufficiently vague they were able to explain away anything that might have been a refutation of the theory had the theory and the prophesies been more precise. In order to escape falsification they destroyed the testability of their theory. It is a typical soothsayer's trick to predict things so vaguely that the predictions can hardly fail: that they become irrefutable.

...And as for Freud's epic of the Ego, the Super-ego, and the Id, no substantially stronger claim to scientific status can be made for it than for Homer's collected stories from Olympus. These theories describe some facts, but in the manner of myths. They contain most interesting psychological suggestions, but not in a testable form

Saturday, January 31, 2004

Blogging on CFP: WWW2004 Workshop on the Weblogging Ecosystem: Aggregation, Analysis and Dynamics

The International Conference on the World Wide Web http://www2004.org/ has issued a call for papers for the 'Workshop on the Weblogging Ecosystem: Aggregation, Analysis and Dynamics'.

The Theme of the Workshop is research into the dynamics, sociology and mining of the blogsphere.

To quote directly
Weblogging has emerged in the past few years as a new grassroots publishing medium. Like electronic mail and the web itself, weblogging has taken off and by some estimates the number of weblogs is doubling every year. Recent estimates place the number of active weblogs at about 1.4 million.

The weblogging microcosm has evolved into a distinct form, into a community of publishers. The strong sense of community amongst bloggers distinguishes weblogs from the various forms of online publications such as online journals, 'zines and newsletters that flourished in the early days of the web and from traditional media such as newspapers, magazines and television. The use of weblogs primarily for publishing, as opposed to discussion, differentiates blogs from other online community forums, such as Usenet newsgroups and message boards. Often referred to as the blogsphere, the network of bloggers is a thriving ecosystem, with its own internally driven dynamics.

The cross-linking that takes place between blogs, through blogrolls, explicit linking, trackbacks, and referrals has helped create a strong sense of community in the weblogging world. There is work underway to understand the dynamics of the weblogging network, much of which springs from bloggers themselves. The self-publishing aspect of weblogs, the time-stamped entries, the highly interlinked nature of the blogging community and the significant impact of weblog content on politics, ideas, and culture make them a fascinating subject of study.

Important Dates
Deadline of electronic submission: March 12 , 2004
Author notification: April 14, 2004
Workshop: May 17 or 18, 2004

Friday, January 30, 2004

Today we had the TAXI dinner - the dinner of the Tamilian Association of XLRI. All of us tamilians dressed up in Vesti (i managed to borrow one from my Malayali friends) and the girls in Saris and served the others food. The food was amazing in taste but limited in quantity, and very little was remaining by the time it was 1 hour. But all the fellows appreciated the food. Even the faculty came and had dinner and it was appreciated. Next time we plan to hold it in a much grander scale.

Monday, January 26, 2004

Had our senior's nite, the farewell party we organize to our seniors on the eve of Republic Day. Went on great - had a couple of great skits and dances and of course, a couple of great pieces by the band out here - particularly payel - she played violin like a maestro. The most moving time was when the seniors got on stage and sang the xl song.
Also got to visit a play called Ralf-Ralf, organized by the British Council in Tata Audi - was interesting, even though couldn't understand it much :D
Well, updates from XL life ....

Virasat 2004 got over yesterday - a week long cultural festival organized by the SpicMacay chapter of XLRI and Jamshedpur in conjunction with chapters all over Jharkhand. It was a wonderful series of events with greats like Pt. Vinayak Torvi, Pt. Raghunath Prasad and the Dagars performing and giving us 10 wonderful evenings. Am part of spicmacay, so life was hectic the last 10 days, but now that it's over, it feels great to have organized something like this. I'll never forget running around arranging sound systems and standing back to watch nothing went wrong.

Incidentally, avartan - a dude out here :P - proved his workaholism - showed us how hyperactive he could get.

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Blogging on MSNBC - Kodak to stop selling traditional cameras

Interestingly, Eastman Kodak has decided to stop selling traditional film cameras in the US. So, the film is on its way out. A wise move i believe, the comfort offered by a digital camera is uncomparable by a digital one - no hassles with buying and developing film and so easy to share to all. Even, out here we in XLRI are more impressed with digicams than with the traditional ones - almost every new one bought these days is a digicam - and they are very handy, particularly when one wants an instant snap.

However, the technology needs to improve a lot - which i'm sure it will. The costs of digicams are already coming down and soon i'm sure the digicam is going to rule the picture world.
Found a rather interesting software to learn about Options and the strategies of using them - has a 30 day trial version.

Voptions

Monday, January 12, 2004

Blogging on OSDL goal: $10M defense fund for Linux users - Computerworld ....

Apparently, OSDL is planning to set up a $10 mn legal defense fund for helping companies sued by SCO for using Linux.

SCO is committing religious sacrilege :|
Blogging on USATODAY.com - Investment research may cost Morgan Stanley $38.5M ...

A rather interesting turn of developments, with Morgan Stanley being asked to pay 30 million euros ($38.5million) in damages to the french luxury goods maker LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton, due to an analyst's report which hurt the company !!!

Apparently, Morgan Stanley in 1999 had helped Gucci avoid a takeover by LMVH and MoSt is alleging that LMVH is taking revenge for that!

But a rather shocking development, since if a company were asked to pay compensation for research reports it publishes that apparently hurt a company, it would be the end of all research in companies - surely against free speech - and free beer :)

Sunday, January 11, 2004

Blogging on 'India top entrepreneurial country' - The Times of India

India, with more than 85 million businesses, is the most entrepreneurial country by volume, says a new study.

Worldwide, the researchers of the study estimated, about 297 million people in the 41 countries surveyed were trying to develop 192 million businesses past their initial launch.

Saturday, January 10, 2004

Some random rambling .... :)

What is complexity?: Complexity can then be characterized by lack of symmetry or "symmetry breaking", by the fact that no part or aspect of a complex entitity can provide sufficient information to actually or statistically predict the properties of the others parts. This again connects to the difficulty of modelling associated with complex systems.