Showing posts from 2013


Taxes should be collected like the honeybee collects nectar from the flowers; without hurting the flowers and pollinating the plants in the process. 

Theory and Practice

"In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is." - Yogi Berra


Can traditions survive without rituals? 

What's Wrong With The World Today?

The world continues to evolve in ways that are hard to imagine. One hundred years ago, we could not have predicted the state of the world today, and we can not predict how the world will be one hundred years from now. However, what we can do is understand how the world is today and discuss why. This may give us some ability to change the trajectory of the world's direction. In the last century seven aspects of life have changed significantly. Let's look at them:  1. Movement: Everything is moving today. We are moving and everything around us is moving. Until the 20th century, the visual arts were mainly paintings that did not move. Today, the popular visual arts are movies, TV shows, documentaries, etc. where the characters move and talk. People did not travel much and now we can drive or fly at will. Speaking on the telephone required us to sit at one place and now we have mobile phones which allow us to move and talk. Same thing for the Internet. The interaction wi


Need follows availability. 

The Equation Running the World

The banks are considered too big to fail: i.e if they go bankrupt the world may plunge into a  depression . Ironically, the solution to this "too big to fail" problem from the  2008 financial crises  has made the banks even bigger. Since then I have been paying more attention to the banking world. What do you think the banks do? In simple terms, banks are intermediaries between borrowers and savers. All they do is take money from savers who are looking for a return on their savings and give it to borrowers who are willing to pay interest on that money. Banks are at the center of how  capitalism  works today. And, that is what makes them  too big to fail  especially after the repeal of the  Glass-Steagall  act. A simple equation can explain how we got into the 2008 financial crises:  Return on equity (RoE)  =  Return on assets (RoA)  x  Leverage A bank's equity holders (shareholders) gain when the return on its assets rises. Maximizing RoE means holding fewer


I am a prisoner of my plans. 

Less is a Bore - Venturi on Design

"I like the elements which are hybrid rather than "pure," compromising rather than "clean," distorted rather then "straightforward," ambiguous rather than articulated," perverse as well as impersonal, boring as well as "interesting," conventional rather than "designed," accommodating rather than excluding, redundant rather than simple, vestigial as well as innovating, inconsistent and equivocal rather than direct and clear. I am for messy vitality over obvious unity. I include the non sequitur and proclaim the duality. I am for richness of meaning rather than clarity of meaning; for the implicit function as well as explicit function." - Robert Venturi  

Newton's Influence on Society

"And so the three centuries since Newton became a long period of fascination with technique, with machines, and with dreams of the pure order of things. The twentieth century saw the high expression of this as this mechanistic view began to dominate. In many academic areas - psychology and economics, for example - the mechanistic interpretation subjugated insightful thought to the fascination of technique. In philosophy, it brought hopes that rational philosophy could be founded on - constructed from - the elements of logic and later of language. In politics, it brought ideals of controlled, engineered societies; and with these the managed, controlled structures of socialism, communism, and various forms of fascism. In architecture, it brought the austere geometry and clean surfaces of Le Corbusier and the Bauhaus . But in time all these domains sprawled beyond any system built to contain them, and all thought the twentieth century movements based on the mechanistic dreams of

Technologists and Marketers

Technologists like solving problems and marketers like commercializing the solutions. - Jan Uddenfeldt

Culture and Strategy

Culture beats strategy every time. - Jan Uddenfeldt  

Perception and Reality

Social media is widening the gap between perception and reality. 

Obituary: James R. Faulstich

My dear friend, Jim Faulstich , passed away on September 22, 2013. Jim had a profound impact on my life. He taught me about the importance of civic duty, the depth of opera, and the joy of life. I even learned more about India from Jim. Everyone who spent any time with Jim, loved him. His enthusiasm for life was contagious. Jim's contributions to the business community and government organizations are still positively impacting the lives of millions of people.  Jim was not only a great friend. He was my hero. May he rest in peace. My condolences to Jim's family. 

Why Do Women in Copenhagen Do Not Wear Heels?

Since I joined the advisory board of Crimson Mim , a fashion-forward retailer of women's apparel, I am paying more attention to what people choose to wear and why. During my recent visit to Copenhagen, Denmark I observed that most women walking in the city do not wear heels. They dress very well and usually wear colorful sneakers. This behavior is different compared to what women wear in other cities I have visited (Paris is another place where many women do not wear heels or colorful sneakers but that is a different story). I was curious to find out why. I learned that the reason is neither philosophical nor cultural. Women in Copenhagen do not wear heels because of a very practical reason i.e. the walking streets look like this:  Do you want your Louboutin stuck in this? Most Copenhagen women keep a pair of heels at work and wear them when they are at the office. By the way, the colorful sneakers they wear look really good on them. 

Getting What You Want

People want many things in life: love, money, relationships, entertainment, exploration, respect, comfort, etc. If you only want one thing in life and are willing to give up everything else for it then the chances are that you will get want you want.

Speed and Anger

Anger makes you faster. When angry, you think faster, breath faster, speak faster, and move faster. Is it possible to be slow and angry? 

3-4-5 of Innovation: 3 Ways to Innovate; 4 Steps to Commercialization; 5 Challenges

Last week, I gave a keynote speech at the  Innovation in Mind  conference at Lund University, Sweden. Innovation in Mind focuses on how innovation begins with human consciousness, coupled with ideas from different disciplines coming together. The conference reminded me of  TED . I was honored to be invited to this fantastic conference as a keynote speaker. My keynote speech was titled, " Innovation and its Challenges ". Based on my experience creating new things and accelerating the adoption of innovations ( WiFi  as a paid location based service,  UMTS  at the expense of  WiMAX ,  Mjedi ,  Wearable Devices , Solar-powered cellphone charging and  LED  solution for emerging markets, etc.) I discovered that there is a 3-4-5 of innovation: 3 Ways to Innovate; 4 Steps to Commercialization; 5 Challenges. Watch my keynote speech: And, here is the presentation I used in the speech: Thanks to a brilliant artist, Louise Wester , who made my first caricature:

Fitness on Your Wrist: The Genesis of a Wearable Device

Four years ago, I took a job where I had a one line job description: create a new $100M business in three years for Personal Mobile Devices.  We developed an innovation methodology that worked really well in deciding in which new technologies to invest. Using that methodology, we selected four technologies to commercialize. One of the four was called SmartSense which was a personal wellness platform that included a bracelet, a mobile app, and cloud computing. SmartSense bracelet The SmartSense bracelet measured:  1. Physical activity (steps, intensity, miles walked, calories burned)  2. Stress  3. Skin temperature and ambient temperature  4. Heart-rate 5. Sleep pattern  The magic lay in intelligently gathering the data from the body, analyzing it with history, understanding the correlation and causation among various data sets, and making sense of the user's behavior; then representing the output to the user


Romance is inversely proportional to efficiency. 

Use Your Illusion II

An illusion of understanding is more dangerous than a lack of understanding. 

Use Your Illusion I

The society is a web of illusions and if you are not caught in the web then you are the disillusioned one. 

Inside TED Global 2013

Last month, I attended  the Technology Entertainment and Design Global Conference ( TED) in Edinburgh, Scotland.  This internationally attended conference brings together leaders, experts and innovators from diverse disciplines to share  new ideas making it exceptionally unique and difficult to attend. Participants must complete a long application which is reviewed by a committee and that is how you are invited to attend. It is somewhat like applying for college.  For nearly 15 years I have been attending conferences all over the world that have focused on technologies and business. Topics usually discussed include how to bring these two together to increase a company's bottom line, how to capture dedicated customers and move towards a global market place, what the major industry trends are and how they may change the business. TED is truly about new ideas worth spreading that make the world a better place.  What I experienced in Scotland was a conference that genuinely c