Showing posts from 2007

Social Responsibility

I sometimes wonder about the responsibility I have to the society I live in. The concept of society works largely because of laws, common interests, and individuals realizing consequences of their actions. However, all societies have norms or culture which is similar to have a common language for how to live in that society i.e. the culture holds the society together more than anything else. So, let me ask you something. Earlier this week I was standing in a line to get on the Victoria Clipper (high speed ferry from Victoria, BC, Canada to Seattle, WA). It was a long line not moving very fast. It was freezing cold and suddenly it started to hail. I requested the old woman behind me to come in front of me so that she can get under the shed because she was in open air under the hail. Then, this women goes ahead three more places and occupies a new place in the line which is four places ahead of where she is supposed to be. By now, we are indoors with the heater on so there is no element


"It is unwise to be too sure of one's own wisdom. It is healthy to be reminded that the strongest might weaken and the wisest might err." Gandhi "An open mind is a prerequisite to become wise." Chander

Life in Asia

I recently spent three weeks in Asia. It is fascinating to learn about the cultural differences among various countries. Most of the time, I was in Japan, Singapore, and China. All three countries are very unique. Following are a few random observations from the three countries: Japan Japan is the most advanced country in wireless communication (South Korea may disagree). All the new cool stuff, mobile wallet, mobile audio/video streaming, etc., I have been reading, writing, and talking about for last 11 years, I saw it first hand. Did you know that nobody uses SMS in Japan? They all send emails to each other using iMode or similar services. What impressed me the most was the humility and humbleness of the Japanese. Japan is the second biggest economy in the world and they rose from nothing after the second world war. Gadgets are a basic need in Japan. The electronic market Akihabara is like a flee market selling games, laptops, phones, etc. However, the stuff sold is world class an

Creation vs. Evolution

Creation is relatively easier than evolution. You can start fresh with the creation and go wild with your imagination. However, with evolution you have to think about making changes to how things are today. Evolution is a much longer process than Creation. That is why most of the innovation (Creation) comes from new companies and not from big companies who have to think about evolution. Creation of human life takes a few seconds and its evolution takes a lifetime. Someone in silicon valley said that god created the world only in seven days because he did not have to think about the embedded base:-)


People spend their life in "the grind" or "rat race" and wake up one day and think where did the last 40 years go. One of the most fundamental principles of logistics is that you can not improve what you can not measure. I think this applies to life as well. So, I try to measure my progress every day by answering the following questions in my journal: 1. What did I do today to bring to closer to achieving my yearly objectives? 2. What did I do well today? 3. What could I have done better today? 4. What did I do for others today? 5. What was diamond of the day i.e. what did I enjoy the most today? 6. What did I learn today? 7. What couldn't I answer today? It is amazing what ten minutes a day of reflection does to your outlook on everything. Try it! People who taught me the value of measurement and reflection are Dieter Klein (former boss), Walter Zinn (former professor), and Tom Carter (former customer).

Innovation vs. tradition

Why do I love innovation and on the other hand when it comes to performing arts I love opera which is about 500 year old?

Knowing what you want

If you want to fly to Hong Kong, don’t take a plane to Rwanda because the Rwanda flight is cheaper.


Why nothing can travel faster than light?


Why did humans develop ability to communicate with a language and not any other life form? How did humans develop emotion and not any other life form? How come we have the most developed brain of all life forms? How did countries, societies, cities, etc. develop? Why are the male/female characteristics common among all life forms?

Effective Executive2.0

I recently changed my "title" on LinkedIn from "Accelerator of Technology Adoptions" to "Effective Executive 2.0". Now, what does Effective Executive 2.0 mean? The principles on which the executives 1.0 operate are: Command and Control Centralize-make as many decisions on your own as possible Surround yourself with yes-men so that you always hear confirming data for your thoughts and ideas Resist change ("this is how we do things here") Linear approach to problem solving Limited industry-specific knowledge The principles on which executives 2.0 operate are: Enable and leave "them" alone i.e. create an environment for the employees to self-organize (learning organization) Decentralize-make as less decisions as possible and let the people make decisions at the local level. Focus on policy-making. Surround yourself with diverse people who feel safe to share their thoughts Embrace change (Recognize what worked in the past may not work in th


What is the relationship between language and genetics? Why language evolved differently in different regions of the world?


Why are people attached to keeping the tradition? Doesn't it hamper innovation and change?

Google's management principles

I am writing on my blog from a king county bus which is moving at 60 mph. The bus has WiFi and I am getting speeds of 317 kbps down and 154 up. Not bad! Last year, Google executive, Marissa Mayer, talked about Google’s Management/Innovation principles. The video is available at . Following are the nine principles she explained: Ideas come from everywhere: Create environment/culture that encourages new idea generation and does not limit it to a few people. Share everything you can: Everyone knows what everyone else is working on-success/failure stories. This creates synergies i.e. 1+1=3. You’re Brilliant. We’re hiring: Smart people like to work with smart people. Always find a place for them. They manage themselves. This will enable you to have a “flat” organization. A license to pursue dreams : Let people work on what excites them. Google allows everyone to spend 20% of their time on a


Why is music pleasing to our ears? How did the the trend of listening to music start? Why do people have different tastes in music? Why music is part of all propaganda? Why are the tunes from hundreds of years ago still popular today? Growing up, I always studied with music, went to bed with music, celebrated with music, shared my sorrow with music. Why is music so important in our lives?

Economics & Reality

If you have read any economics literature, you know that for all decision making it assumes that the decision maker is a "rational man". Well, I don't think many decisions are made based on rationality. Emotion is a much powerful force than rationality and plays bigger role in decision making than rationality. Now, think about leadership and inspiring people. A good leader must connect with people at an emotional level to inspire them. Think Gandhi, Martin Luther King, and others.


What environment does Apple has that enables it to innovate faster than any other company? Apple came out with the iPod instead of Sony. Apple came out with iTunes instead of the record labels or distributors. Apple came out with iPhone instead of Nokia. Today, Apple came out with iPod touch. Something else getting not much media attention is that Apple is slowly increasing its Mac market share vs PC.

Complexity - A new Science

Yesterday, I finished reading Complexity , a book about the emergence of a new science. Following are a few random highlights: A new idea would not be a revolution if everyone believed in it at the start. The crucial skill required to achieve a holistic understanding of any system is the ability to see connections among various parts. Economics is hopelessly intertwined with politics and culture. Neoclassical theory assumes that the economy is entirely dominated by negative feedback: the tendency of small effects to die away. However, Complexity theory suggests that given the right environment, the positive feedback dominates: the tendency of small effects to become magnified. The QWERTY keyboard was designed by Christopher Scholes in 1873 specifically to slow the typists down; the typewriting machines of the day tended to jam if the typist went too fast. The road to the Nobel Prize has generally been through the reductionist approach-dissecting the world into smallest and simplest pie

Well well well

I have not written on my blog for three months. Unbelievable! I don't know why my behavior varies with the environment. At work, I am very self disciplined and at home I am very spontaneous and random. Let's see how I can summarize the last three months. Undisciplined for sure:-) I went to following new places: Santa Fe, NM Newport Beach, CA Düsseldorf Cologne Budapest Zagreb, Croatia Crikvenica, Croatia (took a dip in the Adriatic sea) Explored new career opportunities in Europe; gave a speech on why and how carriers should adopt 3G at a 3G Americas conference .; Met with George Cowan at the Santa Fe Institute. Visiting Santa Fe Institute and meeting George Cowan is one the major highlights of my adult life so far. This man is remarkable! He led the research at Los Alamos ( Manhattan project ) and founded SFI and established Complexity as a science. I am beginning to get bored with the daily routine. However, I still get excited when I read about complexity.

Business: Market Cap

Can someone help me understand why is the market cap of retail giants like Wal-Mart, Costco is lower than their annual revenue and the market cap of tech companies like Google is 3-4 times their revenue? Stocks are priced on earnings multiple and not on revenue multiple. However, revenue gives you a good idea about size of the company and hence about the Sustainable Competitive Advantage of the company. Are we more sure about earnings growth in the tech industry than in the retail industry? I would think that the future of a tech company is more uncertain than future of a retail giant.

Business: Warren Buffet & Charlie Munger

Friends, I never thought that one day would get excited about going to Omaha, Nebraska. However, I was ecstatic to attend the “Woodstock of capitalism"-Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholder meeting-last weekend in Omaha. Thanks to my friend, Shriniwas, who owns a few shares of Berkshire Hathaway. There were 27,000 attendees from all over the world. Most of the crowd was very unassuming. I met people with net worth of $100M+, managers of $100B funds, mechanics, farmers, etc. All admirers of Warrant Buffet and Charlie Munger! We started with a cocktail party on Friday evening which was hosted at the jewelry store, Borsheims, owned by Berkshire Hathaway. Very unique party-millionaires standing in line for a long time to get free food Next morning around 6:30AM, we stood in line to get in the stadium where the meeting was being held and it was supposed to begin at 8:30AM. We learned that people had been in line since 4:00AM to get good seats. We did get OK seats and managed t

Business: Wireless

If you have spent time with me, you must have heard me talk about wireless. How it signifies freedom to me and how we are only at the beginning of a big evolution. By 2025+/-5 years there will not be any stand alone devices. All electronic devices will be connected to each other and maybe to us. Well, I have been saying this since 1997 when I joined the wireless industry and now the Economist is said the same thing this week. If you live in this society, you should get a copy of the magazine. Wireless will change the society in the coming years. However, it will be a gradual evolution and not a revolution as predicted by the Economist.

Life: Downfall of a man

I recently learned that in Indian mythology it is believed that there are three reasons for a man's downfall: 1. Anger 2. Fear 3. Laziness Don't fall!

Life: Universe

I tell everyone to think about the Universe and their place in it whenever they are stressed about their problems. Sometimes, I forget the lesson myself. Friends, always keep in mind what is most important to you in life and how insignificant your problems are compared to the Universe. Somehow, I still have not developed tolerance for people with no integrity and no backbone. Gandhi said something very profound-To forgive and accept injustice is cowardice.

Life: Commitments

Why do I have the tendency to meet all my commitments even if I have to suffer to meet them?

Life: Knowledge

The more I learn, the more I realize how much i don't know. Why do we grow hair and nails and no other body part after becoming adults? How do we decide what is our favorite color? Why do we love? Why is emotion more powerful than reason? Why does religion still exist? If take away the human desire to be in power, will the countries still exist? A bird had no idea of what a country/boundary is. Why do we fight in the name of freedom? Why is food part of all cultures? Why do we like some people and dislike some without knowing much about them? Why is heart associated with love in all cultures?

Human Behavior: Ballet

Why is ballet not a popular art form? Every time I go to one, I sit in awe for two hours. There is melodic music, beautiful setting, very attractive women (and men) in perfect shape who can move their bodies in perfect harmony like they are made out of rubber. So, why is it not popular? I think the career of a ballerina is of a great sacrifice. It takes years of practice and discipline starting at an early age. What motivates someone to give up simple joys of life and become a ballerina? I have great admiration for the artists. I went to see Carmina yesterday. It was brilliant! That is what prompted me to think about the art form.

Technology: Open source

Can someone help me understand how will any company compete without leveraging open source i.e. using the brains of a large population which does not reside inside the company? If a company relies only on inside resources which have gone through the corporate brain wash to think alike then it can not compete with an organization that relies on open source and harnesses the power of millions of diverse minds around the world. IBM is probably one of the biggest company that leverages open source, P&G, Sun are not behind. Where is your company?

Life: Who am I?

As I learn more about life, I am beginning to wonder the deep roots of the question-who am I? After all the research and progress it is still unanswered.

Life: Curiosity

can someone be too curious?

Life: Help a Nude female

OK, it's not a real nude female, it's a painting! David, a good friend of mine, is participating in the Saatchi gallery "Showdown" and everybody that clicks on the link and then clicks on the stars to rate his painting helps him climb the ranking. There's no money involved, just an opportunity for exposure. Thanks! It means a lot!

Life: How does ANY functionality develop?

Structure defines function! We evolved to become humans from single cell organisms because of the ecosystem structure. Companies evolve or die because of their structure. We are the most intelligent life form because of our brain structure. And, form follows function. When the ocean got too crowded, as a survival strategy some fish developed legs to be able to live on earth.

Human Behavior: Work Life balance

Why do say work-life balance? Is work not part of life or is life not part of work?

Business: Making things work

I just finished reading a book which was part of my Complex Systems program in January. The book is a good introduction for anyone intersted in Complex System. It provides you with basic concepts of Complex Systems and its application to our Health Care, Education System, International Development, Ethnic Violance, etc. It will give you a new perspective on solving business problems.

Human behavior: Food

Why are people obsessed with food? In my eternal pursuit to try new things, last Thursday, I tried the food homeless eat. It was not bad and much healther than what I get at restaurants. Unfortunately, I could not talk to any homeless who were standing in line because there were only few and they did not speak English. Everytime, I go to the Pike Place market (Seattle, WA) close to my place, I always see everyone is eating something. Have we evolved from searching for food being primary purpose of life to eating as much as we can being the purpose?

Technology: P2P

I just finished reading a book, The Starfish and the Spider . It takes one of the fundamental principles of Complex Systems i.e. a networked organization (all system elements are connected to each other) is better than a hierarchical organization (one person is in charge of the entire organization e.g. CEO) and provides excellent applications of the principle. P2P technology(Peer to Peer)-Skype, Napster, Kazza, etc. has changed the world more than we realize. P2P is what is enabling development and evolution of networked organizations. If you work in the corporate world today, most likely you are working in a hierarchical organization and not utilizing your full potential. Get out and use P2P!

Human Behavior: Negotiations

I went to a lecture by William Ury today. He is the co-founder of the Harvard Negotiation program which I attended two years ago. The basic idea he was teaching is that it is important to say No. During conflict, we follow Avoidance, Accommodation, Attack or saying No. See the picture for details. One should never lose respect for others irrespective of others position on a conflict. Try to go beyond position and understand the interests behind the position.

Business: Evolution of Starbucks

I remember a time when going to Starbucks was a pleasant experience. At that time, Starbucks had less than 2,000 stores and now it has more than 12,000 stores. Starbucks has a centralized control structure which makes it very difficult to evolve successfully. Most of you may not be familiar with Complex Systems principles so that's all I will say about evolution. Check out Howard Schultz memo These days, many times in the morning, Starbucks is out of coffee. Isn't that ironic, coffee store is out of coffee? If it happened a few years ago and if it did (rarely) you got a free coffee for the inconvenience. Now, it is every week occurrence and there is no free coffee or apology. Another example, I order a no-room grand drip coffee (medium black coffee) every morning and more than 60% of the times, they get the order wrong. I could not think how someone could get a simple coffee order wrong. So, I tried various tactics to place my order. Mainly, I changed sequence of words and pa

Business: Motivation

How do you deal with lazy people? If someone's objective is to do as little as possible and spend two hours giving reasons why they can't do a task that requires one hour, how do you motivate these people or work effectively with them?

Life: Life

My grandmother had a heart attack last week. I am feeling restless since then. It is making me think about big goals in life again. Someday, all of us will die. While you are alive, you develop strong ties with your friends/family/relatives and the end is that we all die someday. So, why isn't everyone making the best out of his/her life? Enjoy every second of life. Be happy, make people around you happy. All have us have the same destiny (end) so why does so much conflict exists in the world?

Life: Love

Well, today is Valentine's day. The day of love! One of the great examples of how over the years marketing can change human behavior. So, we celebrate the festival of love by paying $10/stem for roses, $60 for a $8 bottle of wine, $100 for a $40 meal, etc. And, this is supposed to show love? Why do we love? How is that India with arranged marriages people can develop stronger bonds than in the west with 5 years of dating.

Human behavior: Change

Why are people resistant to change? If I do repetitive work, I get bored. However, I notice most people do not want to try new things. They are happy with how things are. Is it genetic? Is it circumstantial?

Life: Water and Electricity

I attended a lecture by Dean Kaman yesterday. He is the guy who invented the Segway among many other useful things. I learned that 1.6B people in the world don't have access to clean drinking water and hence 2M people die every year because of it. If you combine the deaths ever year because of all chronicle diseases combined, it is less than 2M. Hundreds of billions of dollars go into research to find cure to these diseases but only a few million to provide clean water where it is needed. Also, 1.1B people in the world don't have electricity at their house and 1+M people die because of it. Unbelievable! Don't you think that we who live in the developed world have the responsibility to change the situation? "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." -Margaret Mead Your thoughts?

Business: Management vs. Leadership

Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things. - Peter Drucker Leadership is a buzzword in business. I can bet any two people you ask, you will get a different response on what leadership is. To be an effective executive, one must do the right things well. Everyone in any organization should do this. I think true leadership is the ability to inspire over whom one does not have any authority. All business corporations are hierarchical in nature. I find it amusing that "leaders", usually Vice Presidents (VP) or higher, in most corporations don't spend any time with the people they are supposed to manage/lead and are focused on pleasing their bosses. Also, they get rewarded for it:-) How many effective executives have you come across in your life?

Life: kids

Why do kids like repetition? They are very creative at that age and according to Transactional Analysis theory, future behavior is decided by kids development between the ages of 0 and 5. So, howcome when you are most creative in life, you can watch the same movie or hear the same story 50 times?

Life: Big Goals

I recently attended a program on Complex Systems (CX) which made me think about bigger goals in life. My goal for a long time has been to be a successful entrepreneur. However, given the situation of the world today, I found it worth considering bigger goals in life. E.g. eliminate poverty, eradicate AIDS, development in Africa, religious harmony, etc. I am rarely confused but the last few days have been confusing. That is why, I have not been writing in my journal online and offline. I still have not cleared the confusion but it should not stop life or my writings on CDOQ. Looking forward to regular discussions.