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Showing posts from 2011

Meaning

Why do humans look for meaning in randomness of life? Does the fragrance of a flower have meaning? There is no meaning. It just is. 

Plates

When you dine out in the US, why are the waiters/busboys in a rush to take your plates? Is there a plate-shortage in casual restaurants?:-)

The New Goliaths

Not long ago, the big retailers were considered as the sharks eating the small independent retailers. Today, these sharks are getting eaten by the web savvy companies. Booksellers are good examples. Borders is bankrupt. Barnes and Noble is not doing so well. These are the same companies that were thought to drive independent booksellers out of business. Now they are going out of business. The Internet companies may the new Goliaths . However, the new Davids may be the ones who combine web savvy with mobility and social networks. I see business very similar to biology. The species (companies) that survive are the ones who are the most adaptable to the change in the environment [ Darwin ]. 

Dogs and People

I wonder how the world would be like if people showed same affection to unknown people that they show to unknown dogs. 

Innovation in Technology and its Challenges

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Innovation is one of the latest buzz-words in the business world. And, there is a lot of debate in academia about what innovation is. Is it any invention ? Is it anything new? Do x number of people have to buy the new "thing" before it is considered innovation? Is a new feature added to an existing product an innovation? Is any new product or service innovation? And on and on...the debate continues. The problem is that the academics spend most of their time and energy on discussing what innovation is and not enough on how to innovate. And, the people who are innovating are not usually discussing it. Innovation is very contextual subject. In the business world, most of the times, innovation is related to revenue growth. For this article, innovation is new revenue creation with commercialization of new high-technologies  or finding applications of existing high-technologies. Furthermore, this article is based on a recent talk I gave at the Santa Fe Institute  busines

The cost of wrapping a gift

It is $4.99 on Amazon.com!

Our Civilization today

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The following article was published in the European edition of  The Wall Street Journal on October 28th, 2011 and provides a good example of what is wrong with our society today. The love of sensory pleasures has taken over the love for another human being. The 'I Don't' Honeymoon By JULIA REED The honeymoon was to begin in Paris because that was, more or less, where we began. When I met my fiancĂ©, I was in my early 20s and living in Washington, D.C. He was almost twice my age and living in London, so Paris is where we got together—where he romanced me over the course of seven years.    Hadley Hooper for The Wall Street Journal   Sometimes our visits were fevered two-day jaunts; sometimes, when we had the use of his sister's sprawling apartment, they'd last for more than a week.

Age and Pragmatism

People usually get more pragmatic with age.

Understanding

It is better to understand oneself vs trying to understand others. If one understands oneself well then the behavior of others makes sense.

Love

How do you learn to love? Is it possible to love truly if you have never been loved? Can you sustain love if it is not reciprocated?

Sleep

Sleep is a wonderful thing.

What is Love?

You say you love your wife. In that love is involved sexual pleasure, the pleasure of having someone in the house to look after your children, to cook. You depend on her; she has given you her body, her emotions, her encouragement, a certain feeling of security and well-being. Then she turns away from you; she gets bored or goes off with someone else, and your whole emotional balance is destroyed, and this disturbance, which you don't like, is called jealousy. There is pain in it, anxiety, hate and violence. So what you are really saying is , 'As long as you belong to me I love you but the moment you don't I begin to hate you. As long as I can rely on you to satisfy my demands, sexual or otherwise, I love you, but the moment you cease to supply what I want I don't like you.' So there is antagonism between you, there is separation, and when you feel separate from another there is no love. But if you can live with your wife without thought creating all these contrad

The Problem with Learning

We learn how things were and how they should be but rarely how things really are. This causes a lot of misery and pain because things are never how they should be. Now, where does "should be" come from? "Should be" is based on religious or some other ideals or on the memories of the past or on anticipation of better future. All of these "should be" concepts are never fully realized and hence we spend our lives in conflict with the present.

Thought and Memory

Is it possible to have thought without memory?

People Watching

Why is people watching a popular time-pass around the world?

Conflicting Life Strategies

I often wonder what the best life strategy is. Complex Systems and experience taught me that tit for tat is the best survival strategy. However, it is in direct conflict with what I learned from Gandhi i.e. an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind. Do I have to raise my consciousness to the level of Gandhi to live by "be the change you want to see in the world" (another lesson from Gandhi)? What do you think?  

Independent Mind

An independent mind is a rare thing.

Human Nature Summarized

The basic human nature is same all over the world - reproduce, continuously satisfy senses, and pursue self-interest, all with the least amount of effort.

Management vs. Investment

Smart people manage. Smarter people invest.

Context

Context is not a well understood concept in context of decision-making:-) By context, I mean a set of conditions (mostly interconnected) under which something works or occurs.  We go to school (higher education) and learn theory which tells you how the world should work and not necessarily how it actually works. Subjects are taught in universal terms and not in relative (or context-specific) terms. How many classes have you seen on mastering context? So, how do you learn context? Mainly, by experience and thinking. However, most people are mentally lazy and they don't think about why something worked. One of my heroes, George Bernard Shaw , famously said, " Few people think more than two or three times a year . I have made an international reputation for myself by thinking once or twice a week."  We tend to think that success was because of our actions and failure was because of others' actions. We like simple rules of thumb which don't require us t

Obituary: Jens-Uffe Andersen

My dear friend, Jens-Uffe Andersen, passed away on May 26th, 2011. Jens-Uffe was a great man and I admired him. He spent his life being a productive member of the society and made significant contributions to the success of SIEMENS in Denmark. Jens-Uffe taught me valuable lessons in business, specifically: In a big centralized corporation, when managing a big account, one has to spend more time within the organization aligning various entities than with the customer.    Internal alliances are necessary to get anything done in a big organization.  People like to do business with with people they like even if it costs a bit more.  I am sure that I am not doing justice to wisdom of the man by just listing three things I learned from him because the list is very long. May Jens-Uffe rest in peace. My condolences to his family.

Take Joy in Admitting Mistakes and other Wisdom from Charlie Munger

Charlie Munger , my hero, answered questions from his fans at " A Morning with Charlie" in Pasadena, California on July 1, 2011 (formerly, this annual gathering with Charlie was known as Wesco Financial Annual Shareholder meeting).    Just like all the other meetings with Charlie, this one offered wisdom, humor, and admiration for the man. I could not attend the meeting and am thankful to Morgan Housel  who complied the notes from the meeting for the Montley Fool. [click here for the original post]. Following are the notes: ----   On the Wall Street meltdown: It all started with an asinine bubble. The cause was a combination of megalomania, stupidity, insanity, and I would say evil on the part of bankers and mortgage brokers. And it was widespread. Alan Greenspan was a smart guy, but he totally overdosed on Ayn Rand when he was young. You can't give bankers the freedom to create gambling games. That's what it was. Wall Street was a gambling house, and the

Charlie Munger's Parody of the Great Recession

Charlie Munger , my hero, handed out the following parody at " A Morning with Charlie" in Pasadena, California on July 1, 2011 (formerly, this annual gathering with Charlie was known as Wesco Financial Annual Shareholder meeting).  The parody identifies the causes of the recent financial crises in the US. Most "experts" have not been able to do that. Furthermore, it offers valuable lessons in human behavior, economics, accounting, and morality. I am still laughing after having read the story twice:-). Enjoy!  --- In the country of Boneheadia there was a man, Wantmore, who earned his income as a home mortgage loan originator. Wantmore operated conservatively. All his home loans bore interest rates of 6% or less, and he demanded of all borrowers large down payments, documented proof of adequate income and an immaculate credit-using history. Wantmore sold all his loans to life Insurance companies that, before closing purchases, checked loan quality with rigor—th