World Cup – Welcome Home!

9

1983 – We the last of the Generation X were born before India won its first cricket world cup and were too young to experience that victory. But we grew up hoping to experience it, not for a year or two but for 28 yrs. By this time my son is of the age I was during the first victory. Cricket to us is more than just sport, it is hope. It gives more hope than what any of the self motivation books or talks can provide, It gives more hope than real world success stories; coz in cricket you are not hearing a story, you are part of the game. Though not essentially playing it you participate in it making predictions, ball by ball. And like the stock market it is highly unpredictable, no matter how hard you try to do it and always end up missing some factor. No other game in history has the chances of victory less significant on capability of the players.  From the sun and rain gods, the chances of head or tail at the toss of a coin, geography of the venue, the crowd factor, several factors can play spoil sport. To win the game it is not just required to defeat the opponent but defeat nature itself. 600 balls of strategy by players on the field and off the field, every ball is a game by itself.

Cricket in India has grown along with us, along with our economy. During those times we were not yet there on the global stage. Cricket gave us hope that we could demonstrate ourselves equally on the global stage. Many of my friends would argue what cricket could do anything to India rather waste some productive hours. I would still argue that the ‘hope’ factor is more important to reach horizons, to challenge the impossible rather than just do hard work. That’s the game of cricket, you predict something and there would arise a player who would prove it all wrong, not just your predictions but nature and science itself. What else could give you more hope.

What could the statistics do to the victory of Srilanka. Right from the beginning the statistics decided Srilanka’s victory and at 31-2 how many could genuinely predict India’s victory. As if history did rewrite itself to challenge the capability of humans India won when it was least expected.

No other place in the world can you see the gods of India together, No other victory is celebrated so much. The cricketers, the politicians, the businessmen, the shining stars of Bollywood and a billion plus spectators; nothing would have seen the whole of India praying for a common goal, The victory of India. For there are no different religions, no different languages, it is a feeling that the whole nation has in common.

2011 – There was indeed one factor that predicted India’s win. The calendars of 1983 and 2011 were the same Smile. Against all odds India did win. To prove that we are very much in the global stage and give the next generation the hope to do more. Let this victory challenge all that’s been decided impossible in this country.

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Know Everything!

stock-vector-jack-king-queen-of-spades-vector-28951519When I was doing my undergraduate I was used to be regularly questioned by my friends on my interests in information technologies being a Chemical Engineer. I used to reply back stating that I am trying to find a link between the two. Though at that time my interests were not really based on what I claimed, I found my job requiring skills in both the areas and hence helping me perform better.

Today I find knowledge of ‘finance’, ‘history’, ‘psychology’ and ‘economics’ are essential to move up. Many technical people want to stay focused in their areas of interest which are mostly very narrow and expect to gain expertise in that field. But the whole idea can be challenged. Lack of knowledge in subject areas which seem totally unrelated can be a hurdle to professional growth even on technical areas of focus.

Knowledge of ‘history’ and ‘culture’ is very important to understand why your counterpart in an overseas affiliate behaves differently, knowledge of ‘finance’ is very essential to understand why and how top management decisions are made, knowing ‘psychology’ can help handle your sub ordinates better. Applying technical judgments in business world will fail miserably. Many technical people feel decisions are forced upon them because they fail to understand business needs and in a globalized environment they feel deserted when they fail to understand the history, culture and psychology of their colleagues.

Even technically many people want to ‘focus’ their expertise only on certain technical areas. Either they consider other areas not as challenging as their areas of expertise or they feel even their focus area is too much for their lifetime. And even to reason this behavior, knowledge of Indian culture and psychology is important. In Indian society ‘engineering’ enjoys higher status as compared to basic sciences, literature… And if you apply some ‘statistics’ you will find that this is purely linked to the higher average pay engineering graduates enjoy. Whether the JOBS really do any ‘engineering’ is a BIG QUESTION! I personally felt science more challenging and difficult than engineering. And today when I read the ‘history’ of ‘science’ itself it is difficult to make judgments on the validity of engineering we are doing now which are again based on science.

From childhood this idea has been drummed into us again and again: stay focused, jack of all trade makes king of none etc.. It might be true if our objectives are broader considering our lifespan on earth. Pathetically these objectives are too narrow or too ‘technical’ that it prevents achieve these objectives. Most of the seemingly unrelated subjects are highly correlated and technologies have very small lifespan. Hence to be successful it is essential to ‘KNOW EVRYTHING’

Note: The word ‘technical’ is not used with the right meaning in this blog. Even I was stamped non-technical by few people. To them technical is IT and rest of the world is non-technical 🙂

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India’s gateway to Internet

During a casual discussion with friends I was imagining how Governments are able to block web content. During my visits to countries abroad I was frequented by government notifications stating the site visited is banned (worse was that even Google apps was banned), but not such a single website was showing such notification in India. Curious to know I googled it to find such ones.

Indeed Government of India has its own short list of banned sites with its 13th July 2006 circular.

  1. http://www.soniamaino.com/ not working since Aug 25, 2006
  2. http://www.hinduunity.org
  3. http://mypetjawa.mu.nu
  4. http://pajamaeditors.blogspot.com
  5. http://exposingtheleft.blogspot.com
  6. http://thepiratescove.us
  7. http://commonfolkcommonsense.blogspot.com
  8. http://bamapachyderm.com
  9. http://princesskimberley.blogspot.com
  10. http://merrimusings.typepad.com
  11. http://mackers-world.com
  12. http://www.dalitstan.org
  13. http://hinduhumanrights.org/hindufocus.html
  14. http://nndh.com http://bloodroyaltriped.com
  15. http://imagessearchyahoo.com (should probably be http://image.search.yahoo.com)
  16. http://imamali8.com
  17. http://rahulyadav.com

These websites could not be accessed but however no notifications came up. The following message came up on a chrome browser.

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It seems the system of blocking is not without loop holes. The cached copy of page from Google gives latest updates of the website. One such blog with banned in India can be seen below.

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I was also curious to know how internet is brought to India and how many gateways the Government should control to censor web content. While I imagined several gateways there are only  eight gateways (called landing stations) that connects India to the world of internet.

  

  1. SMW3w : Stands for  South East Asia – Middle East – Western Europe this cable connects Western Europe, Middle East and South east Asia. There are a total of 39 landing points through the cable’s journey and it touches India at Mumbai first and connects the rest of Asia through Cochin. The landing station in Mumbai is owned by VSNL/Tata.
  2. SMW4 : Stands for South East Asia – Middle East – Western Europe, this cable connects Western Europe, Middle East and South east Asia. It has around 17 landing points and touches India in Mumbai and Chennai. Landing station in Mumbai is owned by VSNL/Tata and landing station in Chennai is owned by Bharti Airtel.
  3. SAFE : South Africa Far East Cable. This cable comes from Melkbossstrand in South Africa, linking Durban, Mauritius on the way to Cochin, India. Landing station in Cochin is owned by VSNL/Tata.
  4. FLAG : Stands for Fiber Optic Link Around the Globe. This cable runs through the Suez canal connecting middle east and touches India at Mumbai. The cable network is owned by FLAG Telecom which is bought by Reliance and is now a Reliance company. The landing station in Mumbai is owned by VSNL/Tata. From Mumbai the cable goes to  south east Asia.
  5. i2i : Airtel SIngtel joint venture company is responsible for this 3100 km long cable from Singapore to Chennai. The landing station is in Chennai. From Singapore it will connect to SEA-ME-WE 3 and APCN 2.
  6. TIC : Following the same route as i2i, TIC stands for  Tata Indicom India Singapore Cable. It  connects Chennai and Singapore. TIC is owned by VSNL with the landing station in Chennai. In Singapore the landing station is in Changi.  The cable is 3175 km long.
  7. Falcon : Europe-Middle East- India cable with landing station in Mumbai. The cable and the landing station is owned by Reliance.
  8. Indo-Sri Lanka Cable : Landing station is owned by BSNL and this cable connects Tuticorin and Colombo, Sri Lanka.

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and finally some stats

Note: The contents of this article are from various web sources. I have not done any research to verify the correctness of the information presented.

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Workflow’s Children

There is a scene in the movie ‘Up in the Air’ where an executive would be creating a business process workflow to fire an employee. The intension of creating it was that any dumb person can get to do that just by following the workflow. Funny it may be, but that is how life and businesses run today and everyone wants to stick to it.

In work it is more evident. The previous generations understood the way businesses are run better than we do coz they had opportunities to work out different strategies to get things done. But however the current generation is tied up to workflows defined by the earlier generations which they deemed fit for the time they were initially introduced. Still most practices are still being followed though the mind doesn’t admit the reason it should be followed in current times. There practices are those where still scientific proofs are yet to be established. Reward management for example is one area where many companies are reluctant to change. Many things happen the way they happen just because it had happened the same way before.

So it is in life. From the day a child is born till he grows up to 25 it is most influenced by a definitive workflow. It is difficult for me to explain what i mean but some thought can make one understand. Like going to school, joining college, getting a job, getting married, having children etc… Though it is quite true that following an established progress path in a definitive timeline can help one limit risks of failure, the problem I see is that a person who thinks to break the custom and follow his path is often seen as a route to failure to such an extent that the whole society forces him to failure. This approach I feel is inhibiting creativity in humans and doesn’t differentiate us from monkeys.

Time to ‘THINK’

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Blink!

If you rewind life’s experiences you would note that most decisions are made at minimal time rather than planned and informed decision. While some attribute it to luck and some to experience Malcolm Gladwell attributes it to what he calls ‘Thin Slicing’: our ability to gauge what is really important from a very narrow period of experience. In other words, spontaneous decisions are often as good as—or even better than—carefully planned and considered ones.

Gladwell also mentions that sometimes having too much information can interfere with the accuracy of a judgment, or a doctor’s diagnosis. This is commonly called "Analysis paralysis." The challenge is to sift through and focus on only the most critical information to make a decision. The other information may be irrelevant and confusing to the decision maker. Collecting more and more information, in most cases, just reinforces our judgment but does not help to make it more accurate. The collection of information is commonly interpreted as confirming a person’s initial belief or bias. Gladwell explains that better judgments can be executed from simplicity and frugality of information, rather than the more common belief that greater information about a patient is proportional to an improved diagnosis. If the big picture is clear enough to decide, then decide from the big picture without using a magnifying glass.

Gladwell tells the story of a firefighter in Cleveland who answered a routine call with his men. It was in a kitchen in the back of a one-story house in a residential neighborhood. The firefighters broke down the door, laid down their hose, and began dousing the fire with water. It should have abated, but it did not. As the fire lieutenant recalls, he suddenly thought to himself, "There’s something wrong here," and he immediately ordered his men out. Moments after they fled, the floor they had been standing on collapsed. The fire had been in the basement, not the kitchen as it appeared. When asked how he knew to get out, the fireman thought it was ESP. What is interesting to Gladwell is that the fireman could not immediately explain how he knew to get out. From what Gladwell calls "the locked box" in our brains, our fireman just "blinked" and made the right decision. In fact, if the fireman had deliberated on the facts he was seeing, he would have likely lost his life and the lives of his men.

How many times in our life have we made judgments just in a matter of a sec. Unless they go wrong we never put our minds into what made us take the decision while we would have had no prior information on the subject of judgment. To say ‘blinking’ is as good or better, my life experience is too small. Have to wait.

References

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blink_(book)

http://www.gladwell.com/blink/index.html

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