Showing posts from February, 2007

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.