July 30, 2004 at 7:03 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Stupid Questions and their Silly Answers

End of the week! Yippee!

Suresh is down with what appears to be typhoid. Poor chap. He keeps complaining of nausea/ fever / cough, etc etc. I am disgustingly healthy as usual!! 🙂

Anyway. Remember there was a season, where people would ask you – “Who is your greatest competitor?”, and the “smart” answer was supposedly, “Myself”. In my opinion, the stupidest answer ever. Ask Bill Gates that question, would anyone expect him to say “Myself” instead  of  “Oracle, Sun, Netscape, Everybody else…”? I have fallen into that trap myself. That and other stupid questions like – “What do you fear the most”. The “Smart” answer for that, of course, is “Fear Itself”. How dumb! Talk about a question and answer set that defeats itself! If you ask me now, who is your greatest competitor, I would probably sock you. Or restrain myself to a dirty look directed at you, provided you were one of those people I considered sane at most times, or one of those people whom  could probably never hit (like Parents, Sister, Husband, etc). I mean, who isnt my competitor?? Every da*n person in this world is a competitor! My batchmates- few of them are earning more than I am, which irritates me, even though I am perfectly happy with my salary- the people I have to share the bus with, in the morning, my colleagues, all 5000 of them, everybody in the IT industry, everybody not in the IT industry, because they could be doing something fundamentally different from what I am doing, and probably atleast 10 times more interesting… I mean, who ISNT my competitor! I am supposed to leave all these fellows out and actually give the sickly “Myself”  answer! Yikes!

On a more serious note, I definitely think that answer shows a very bad mindset. the pure inward thinking mindset that characterised companies in the mid-20th century. the attitude that would lead to marketing myopia. How do I increase my company’s profits? hmm… lemme see… Increase production, reduce costs, buy another company, expand my current lines of production… You get the general drift. Would anyone today call that attitude healthy?

An individual is, after all a small-scale model of an organization. If inward thinking philosophies are unsuitable for organizations, why should they be suitable for individuals? Strange.

ITHACA

July 26, 2004 at 10:56 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

ITHACA

When you set out for Ithaka

Ask that your way be long,

Full of adventure, full of instruction.

The Laistrygonians and the Cyclops,

Angry Poseidon — do not fear them;

Such as these you will never find

As long as your thought is lofty,

As long as a rare emotion

Touch your spirit and your body.

The Laistrygonians and the Cyclops,

Angry Poseidon — you will not meet them

Unless you carry them in your soul,

Unless your soul raise them up before you.

Ask that your way be long,

At many a summer dawn to enter —

With what gratitude, what joy!

Ports seen for the first time;

To stop at Phoenician trading centers,

And to buy good merchandise.

Mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony,

And sensuous perfumes of every kind.

Buy as many sensuous perfumes as you can,

Visit many Egyptian cities

To learn and learn from those who have knowledge.

Always keep Ithaka fixed in your mind;

Your arrival there is what you are destined for.

But do not in the least hurry the journey.

Better that it last for years

So that when you reach the island you are old,

Rich with all that you have gained on the way,

Not expecting Ithaka to give you wealth.

Ithaka has given you the splendid voyage.

Without her you would never have set out,

But she has nothing more to give you.

And if you find her poor,

Ithaka has not deceived you.

So wise have you become, of such experience,

That already you will have understood

What these Ithakas mean.

by C.P. Cavafy

I love this poem. Its got incredible rhythm and emotion. Especially love its import. Find it very applicable to life- the journey of life is an experience in itself! You are, after all, the sum of your experiences! If your experiences are good, you are automatically better for them! I guess, especially in our generation, each quest in life is a quest for a better set of experiences. A better Net Present Value (NPV*), if you look at it that way. Life is a series of projects, some running in parallel, and some sequential. When we move projects, we try to move from a lower NPV project to a higher one.

The obvious implication of this is, there are several project running in parallel. Polaris is a project. Inautix is a project. My presence in each is determined the NPV for me in each. It doesn’t mean that movement from one project to another will produce higher cash flows immediately. It could even mean that a project could have higher NPV for the simple reason that it could open up several new projects- like in education, for instance!

* NPV = discounted sum of future cash flows in an asset.

* Discounted sum= tomorrows $ taken in today’s value- for instance, if interest rate is 10%, a Rs. 1000 deposit will yield Rs.1100 at the end of 1 year. The discounted value of Rs. 1100 at the end of one year is Rs 1000 today

July 21, 2004 at 1:31 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

What have I been doing the past few days?

Reading. Reading. Reading. Cooking. Coming to office, coming to office. Not working, as you might have noticed.

Moved to a different project. A casual observer viewing my career graph (what ever there is of that) might think I am a highly sought after resource- I keep shuttling between projects- but allow me to enlighten you. I have to wake you up to reality, but the truth is, life in polaris is a series of transitions, nothing more. I am perpetually in a phase of transition!

Anyway. Have been reading decent books, atleast! Just finished “To Sir With Love”. An excellent book. Everybody ought to read it, atleast once. And you know what I found most striking about the book? The innocence. Braithwaite is innocent- he cares so much for his wards, wants so much to make them good, decent people, capable of facing the world. The children are so decent- they actually give him a chance to put into action, his ambitions. The worst and the most truculent of the children are basically very very good at heart! I cant imagine a bunch of 16-17 year-olds being that good today! Am I being cynical or is Braithwaite being unduly optimistic? I am tempted to think it’s the latter. After all, he/she is a realist for everyone! Or, its quite probable that the adjectives used to describe the locality are over exaggerated. “Tough” is not exactly how I would describe most of the characters. Most of them are softies- which partly explains the success of the book. And the novel. Every one likes to meet softies. Everyone has the romantic ideal that all tough guys are softies are heart. Anyway. Rambling too much about this.

 

Other books I read – the Da Vinci Code- not as great as I expected it to be- okay, to go into familiar territory- it seems to lack the philosophical depth that could take it along side great works like Foucault’s Pendulum . Very few of the arguments are supported by historical facts. Okay a spoiler here: If you haven’t read the book, suggest you skip this para- what the h*&l is the function of the Priory of Sion? If Mary Magdalene has been put to rest, it can’t possibly be to protect her. They seem to have absolutely no documentary evidence about Mary M. if at all the church were foolish enough to dig up her bones- what would they do with them??? The supposed secret that the Priory is to be guarding, is way too fantastic for people to believe in the absence of evidence.

 

Next was – tada! “The Agony and The Ecstay”. That was terrific! Now I am all for visting Florence and Rome & the Vatican atleast once! The list of places I would love to visit only seems to grow! At the top are Egypt, Cambodia, Jerusalem & Jordan, Nepal, Moscow. Should create a separate post for that!

And for those of you horrible people who get more time to read than I do- this list of three measly books is not exhaustive (almost exhaustive, but not quite!)

July 9, 2004 at 4:01 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Yeah, yeah! Long time, I know!

lifes getting very eventful. I got my H1, got a job offer, turned it down, got moved to a diff project…

Finished “The Agony and The Ecstasy”

Visited Delhi- for the H1- met Savithri aka Anu. Try as I might, am not able to start calling her Anu!

Shopped. Lost stuff. Bought stuff that was too small for me.

Got back the lost stuff- atleast nominally- Savithri/Anu says one of the many shops we had shopped at, actually had the stuff. And were kind enough to give it back to her.

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