Thursday, February 21, 2008

We Lead India !

If you ask me about the Lead India campaign run by the Times of India Group, I'll always come back and use one word to describe it: inspirational. The participants were great, and each of them had the potential to lead India in the true sense, but this campaign has really gone beyond that !

I'm sure a lot of you would've already seen the video where a child takes the initiative to "do something", by getting there first to remove a log of wood fallen off, and inspires the rest of the world around him to follow suit. I came across another video, which casts a poor child (representing the Indian youth), who looks dedicated, and hard working. He works at a tea stall the entire day and earns his bits. He even dedicates his evening playing time to binding books instead, so that he can use the rest of the day to learn !! His dedication and determination inspires the rest of his friends to learn from him.

Have a look...

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Google Goodies !!

Google is one company that I admire for it's amazing innovative practices... Be it in increasing market share, creating services that we never thought could exist, or simply playing around :)

I'll take the "playing around" bit, coz that seems pretty interesting. Am sure a lot of you might have noticed the Google logo changing looks, when you encounter a global event. The two initial ones that come to my mind are Haloween, and the Football World Cup !! But did you also know that Google plays around with pages on it's site, when we celebrate April Fool's Day ?!?!

Yes... Google celebrates April Fool's in the most innovative manner possible... It'll showcase an entirely different picture of itself, providing something to the audience that would catch attention... Be it introducing a "Google Gulp (A Google 'smart drink')", MentalPlex (A smarter and faster 'search' engine), Google Romance (Your search for love) or G.C.H.E.E.S.E. (Experiments at Google's lunar office). But the one that stands out is Google's PigeonRank service :))

Everyone today knows that Google's PageRank is the technical brain behind better and faster searches at Google. They now created a spoof themselves, and introduced a 'new' technology termed "PigeonRank" !! They claim to rely on the superior trainability of the domestic pigeon and it's unique capacity to recognize objects !! When a search query is submitted to Google, it is routed to a data center, and the results are flashed at blazing speeds. When a pigeon observes a 'relevant' result, it strikes a rubber-coated steel bar with it's beak, which assigns the page a PigeonRank value of one. For every other such peck, the PigeonRank increases by one :)) The pages receiving the most pecks (or with the highest PigeonRank value) are displayed to the user as the "top search result" .. LOL !!

Isn't this amazing !?? Well, you can only expect this from GOOGLE, with the amount of fun they have @ work :) Read more about the record-breaking PigeonRank 'algorithm' here :

And for other April Fool's goodies @ Google...

P.S. : Thanks Akhil, for enriching me with this wonderful info :)

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Celebrity Treatment @ Colbert !

Stephen Colbert of the Colbert Report on the celebrity feud between Amitabh Bachchan and Shahrukh Khan.

A special word of thanks to Ishira, who sent this video link to me... And believe me, it's worth a laugh - Just for the way Colbert pronounces the Indian names here, and the overall treatment of the episode ;)) - Hilarious !!!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

India Poised - Worth the effort ?

India Poised... The very first glimpse of this campaign caught my eye, and I read the Times of India for the first time in 2007. They started this year with a full-page anthem, and named it 'India Poised' - A campaign that would run for six weeks, and brings us a critical assessment of India's readiness for any serious claim to international fame.

I was in Ahmedabad at that time, and when I got back to Pune (where I am currently based in), I said to my roommate, "I want a copy of that edition of the TOI. It is a collector's edition, and imbibes the true spirit of India in every line of that anthem."

It was a few days later that I came to know about the website dedicated to this campaign ( And I was further impressed. If I decided to call the above page a collector's edition, what would I call the front page of the TOI - 16th August, 1947 edition (Celebrating the birth of India's freedom), what would I call the one on Feb 11, 1952 (Celebrating India's first ever test victory over England in the Madras Test), what would I call the one on May 21, 1965 (First ascent of Mt. Everest by an Indian - M.S. Kohli), and what would I call all those pages that celebrate the TRUE spirit of Indian history ? This is what caught my eye about this wonderful campaign.

India Poised is just another campaign for some, who might say, "We had India Shining at one point in time. It's India Poised this time. Maybe we'll have India Rocks sometime soon". That's true, but we need to realize the fact that India Shining was a completely political campaign, while India Poised is media-driven. There were different goals behind each one of them, and these goals may not even be fulfilled. But, the point is that India Poised imbibes the true spirit in me (and maybe a few more). And it is this very spirit that is there to prove the world today that India is coming... Beware !!

This campaign celebrates 2007 as the year of India. As Jaideep Bose puts it, "The real story of 2006 is that we've gone from thinking small to thinking big. American kids are routinely warned by their teachers that if they don't take their science and math seriously, the Indians and the Chinese will beat them to the best colleges and jobs in America......"

The India Poised campaign also talks about the most tragic moments of Indian history, which have shocked India ! The day when Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated, the day when Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated, the 1962 Indo-China war, the Bhopal Gas tragedy and many more. Each of these events has left a long lasting impression on an Indian heart, and in the long run today, has given each one of us ample strength, to see eye to eye with anybody in this world, no matter how powerful he/she may be, now matter how superior he/she may be, not matter WHO he/she is ! This is because today, we can face any question with dignity and respect - Questions that forced us to look down, questions that we feared, questions that we chose to ignore and ran away from ! But answers to these very questions are our strength today, as we carry the FACE OF INDIA to the world !

TOI also had a poll on who do we think is the "Face of India". It could be one of Amartya Sen, Amitabh Bachchan, Mahatma Gandhi, Manmohan Singh, NR Narayana Murthy, Sachin Tendulkar. Each of those is a legend in himself, and rules a particular sector ! But, for me, the Face of India is one, who is respected around the world, not for his skills, but for his attitude - Not for his style, but for his guts - Not for how he has changed India, but for the way he has changed the world. And this led me to choose only one : Mahatma Gandhi for me, is the clear winner as the FACE OF INDIA !

So, when we ask, "Is India Poised worth the effort ?", my reply to that would be, "Yes, it is worth every bit of the effort. It tells me why I am lucky to have been a part of the experience called 'India', and it reminds me that I have a very big responsibility to make sure that this experience is BIG !".

Thursday, December 21, 2006

MBA Calling : Do I need work experience ?

One question that lingers on in the minds of final year students today, is this : "Eventually I want to do an MBA. Should I directly jump into it now ? Or should I work for sometime before I take the plunge ?".

My ever-so-diplomatic-like-a-consultant answer to this is "Depends !" :) Frankly, there's no single answer to this. The answer lies in the fact that you need to be clear about why you want to do your MBA in the first place, and what are your long term aspirations after that.

I know this sounds a lot MBA-ish, but it's true. This is the most dreaded question that haunts you (or should haunt you) just before you decide to do your MBA. And believe me, if you can manage to answer this convincingly, that would lead you to the title question - Do I need work experience, once I have decided to do my MBA ?

I know all this seems too vague, and reading this post does not help you solve your problem... Rather, it confuses you even more !! To rectify that a bit, I'll take 3 instances, which would be assumptions as to why you want to do your MBA, and what are your aspirations in life. And accordingly, let's get to a conclusion whether working would be better for you at this stage, or plunging into an MBA directly.

Situation 1
"I want to go in for an MBA because it seems to be the 'in' thing today. Almost everybody seems to be going for it. And I do not want to be left our lurching in the dark."

This basically means that you have very little, or no ambition in life. You do not want too much control of things happening in your life right now, and wish to emulate the academic fashion. And that is not entirely bad ! Not everyone HAS to have an ambition of sorts. And it might happen that your ambition builds up later in life. And it might happen that happens for good. Maybe you develop capabilities sometime later, which you never thought could be the case earlier.

For people falling under this category, they could go for an MBA right away ! This is precisely because it would be good for them to get an opportunity to build their thoughts in the midst of an MBA program. Alternatively, some might feel that it would be better for them to work first, and give more clarity to their thoughts there, but I believe that if they start working after rejecting the thought of doing an MBA right now, it would be very difficult for them to rebuild this thought at a later stage.

Situation 2
An MBA would help me understand everything that goes into a professional world. I'll get to know how people work, how responsibilities are carried out, and how to rise in one's job by performing well. My aspiration is to serve my company in the best possible way that I can.

This is a very common profile, and of someone, who is professionally inclined, and wants to work in a leading company, and rising through ranks through promotions (as a result of his good work). The million-dollar question now, is should he work before pursuing his MBA ?

Monetarily speaking, it makes more sense for him to do his MBA directly. This is entirely based on the assumption that the starting salaries post-MBA would be much higher for him, than investing 2-3 years working first, and pursuing the same job later.

But looking at this from an assessing-the-worth-of-an-MBA perspective, if you have worked in an organization before your MBA, you are already aware of different lines of businesses, organization structures, company cultures, industry scenarios, etc. So, any knowledge that you gain during your MBA would benefit you much more, since you already know the applications of the same !
(An analogy to this would be this : Assume you are asked to develop a program as a part of an assignment. If you are already aware of the output, it would be much more easier for you to develop the program, against the scenario when you are only faintly aware of what it should look like.)

So, my answer to this category of aspirants, is that try and work for a couple of years, gain relevant experience, build your thoughts. And then pursue your MBA to follow on those thoughts and be a more solid professional candidate than anyone else !

Situation 3
An MBA would help me understand all aspects of a business - What goes into building one, and what goes into sustaining one. I'll get to know how companies work, how resources are managed, and how to make a mark in your respective industry. My aspiration is to build a company, that manages professionals, and contributes to the Indian economy !

This is very clearly the situation that I fall in :) Please note the choice of words in Situations 2 and 3. A lot of phrases are similar in both situations, yet very very different ! Situation 2 talks about responsibilities, persons, and a single company. Situation 3 talks about business, companies, and economies. A much-higher level imagery is presented in Situation 3, because we are talking about managing companies here, and not working for one !

Ideally, and very clearly, for these kind of profiles, a 2-3 years work-ex is suited before you do an MBA. You dream of something during very early years (as early as high school / college). You try and reinstate those thoughts, refine them during the time you work. And then build on these thoughts, and carve your dream while in an MBA. Believe me, this is much easier said than done, but the beauty of the thought is worth it !!

So, those were the three situations - very different, and very relevant. Not all people would fall under one of these, but I'm sure most of you would find similarities to some aspects of these 3 personalities.

Again, the thoughts / ideas presented here, are absolutely personal, and very much my own - Not influenced by anything in this world ! So, you might not want to apply them at all - But a comment or two about the same, would probably help me carve my way out to my dream :)

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

PPTs !

PPTs... Probably the most academically disoriented acronym that I have ever come across ! Has loads of interpretations, some factual, others innovative :) So, I thought it's high time we put our creative minds to work, and get rolling in the world of PPTs...

Power Point Template
Probably the most often used, and a corporate jargon now. PPTs today, define the life of any management student, whether in India, or abroad :) With tons of presentations at their disposal, PPTs are now a way of life. Infact, this term has become so common now, that it's used in place of presentations. People have almost forgotten alternative modes of presentations. Talk about the effect of Microsoft taking over the world at large !!

I don't know how many people have used this one earlier, but our Chemistry teacher used to use "PPTs" in place of precipitates :) For the uninitiated, precipitation is the formation of a solid in a solution during a chemical reaction (those tiny little particles that remain at the bottom of a test tube). So, PPTs in this sense for a part of my wonderful school memories :)
For more info on precipitates :

Parts Per Trillion
A lot of us use PPT as a measure... Something that is standardized, something that the is used the world over. A lot of you would have encountered the term "ppm" (parts per million). PPT, in this sense, is a measure for more granular things.

Pre Placement Talk
Wow ! Being a B-School student myself, I know what this means... Factually, and psycologically :) To introduce the term, a PPT essentially means that a company is interested in hiring the institutes' students after they pass out, and hence a representative of the company wants to spend sometime with the students, to brief them about the company, what it does, what are they offering in terms of salaries and profiles, and to clarify any other doubts that the students would have. Sounds good ?!? Imagine this then... You are just back from a stupid class, and plan to have a nice afternoon siesta back in your room (Replace this with a movie for some). Just then you get an alert that you gotta rush for a PPT ! XYZ Technologies is on campus, and attendance is compulsory :( There you are... What about that movie that you have been craving to watch ? What about the ever-so-essential-but-never-happens afternoon siesta ?!

But... not all PPTs are the same. For instance, a lot of people crave to go to the Cadbury PPT. Why ?? Because they distribute Cadbury chocolate bars to all the attendees :D Isn't that cool ?? I was one of the lucky ones to sneak in there, and I got a Dairy Milk, a Dairy Milk (Fruit n Nut), a Bournville and a Crackle :)
So, these PPTs are a B-Schooler's introduction to corporate life - Can get boring on most occasions :(

Enough of factual gyaan now... Let's get CREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE8i\/e

Please Papa, Ticket !
Imagine yourself in the shoes of a li'l child... Your parents decide to take you to a fun-fair, where there is loads of entertainment. You suddenly spot a merry-go-round, and this PPT is the first expression that you speak out !!

Packaging, Presentation and Technique
Those folks who are obsessed with Marketing, would relate to this. Probably the three most important things when it comes to marketing products - Packaging, Presentation (of the idea and the product), and the Technique (Marketing Strategy, Operational concerns, etc.)

Pizza, Pasta and Tobasco
Wow ! I love food, and Italian at that is my favourite !!! A thin crust Pizza, A white-sauce Pasta with a touch of tobasco, and a glass of wine - A Classical dinner for two at your service :) Doesn't that sound yummmmmmmmmmmmmmm ?!?!

Pappu Pager ka Timepass
Pappu Pager (The character played by Satish Kaushik) is one of my all time favourites :) Wow... He was GOOD ! He and Govinda, in those days, formed an unbeatable combo, which rocked the nation with loads of comedy movies :)

Hey, I think I've got my brains working enough to save me from Alzheimer's :) How about you guys suggesting me a few more twists around PPTs ?!?!?

Monday, September 11, 2006

Cricket Mania !

The recently concluded England-Pakistan series saw some great cricket bring played by both teams, but was driven by its own share of controversies. First, Umpire Darell Hair accusing Pakistan of ball tampering, with Pakistan forfeiting that match, and later Shoaib being accused of scratching the ball (which was later reverted back).

Cricket does not end here however ! Starting tomorrow (Sep 12, 2006) we have the DLF Cup, featuring India, Australia, and the West Indies. This tri-series promises for some great entertainment (assuming that the big black rain clouds can hold themselves in Malaysia) ! India will be looking to redeem their recent one-day series loss against the Windies, while Australia would be looking for some serious practice before the much-awaited World Cup ! One of the foremost things to look out for, in this series, would be the comeback of master-blaster Sachin Tendulkar ! Every Indian is hoping that he would be back to his natural best – Let’s hope that happens !!!

For the English and Australian fans, we also have the Ashes following soon… One of the most awaited series of all times, the Australians would be looking to regain the Ashes – After their horrific defeat last time around… Coach John Buchanan, who plans to retire after the World Cup this year, has this as one of the items in his wish-list. He has been termed as the best Australian Coach ever, by the current captain, Ricky Ponting, and he would be looking to end his coaching career with a World Cup victory.

India will host the second-biggest cricket tournament – The Champion’s Trophy ! This would take place in the months of October - November this year, in Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Jaipur and Mohali. This would be a pre-cursor to the world cup, and would give a taste of preparations that teams are going through for the grand finale in March next year. And this is going to be a treat for the cricket fanatics !

So, plan your days, and get set to witness some of the best cricketing nations battle it out in the months to follow this year - Cricket at it’s best !