Random Reflections!

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My thoughts!

kaput

Posted by nixbert on November 5, 2008

So one fine weekend my company ceased to exist. If you have heard the word ‘Lehman’, then I suppose you have atleast some idea about it.

Weekend of 14th Sep was preceded by extreme nervousness. I had configured my blackberry to give me live stock quotes. So effectively I was checking the stock quote almost every 10 mins, even when I was not glued to my laptop! My family, meanwhile, decided that this was good enough reason for collectively hating me. By friday evening, it was clear that we had taken heavy beating and it may never be the same again.

I switched to checking news headlines every 10 minutes over the weekend (God bless BlackBerry). Monday morning, Sep 15th, came as a rude shock when I read the headline ‘Lehman files for bankruptcy‘. This was both unprecedented and unexpected. There were several possibilities thrown up before the weekend. Not one of them had anything to do with the words ‘Chapter 11’. My family could barely control their shock – How could they not know this before? Yeah well, that’s how it is. Love it or hate it but you cannot avoid either capitalism or globalisation.

Walking into the office that morning was an eerie experience. I swiped my access card. It worked!! Never before did I derive such satisfaction in the mundane 🙂

I will write more about the entire experience as I retrospect and recollect my thoughts. Meanwhile I leave you with ‘The Annotated Fuld‘ (a much publicised painting of Lehman CEO Dick Fuld in which comments from all and sundry have become part of the painting itself).

You can see clear inspiration from one of my favourite authors, Douglas Adams, in one of the quotes – “So long and thanks for all the fish”. See if you can locate it!

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Its a boy ….

Posted by nixbert on November 4, 2008

..and a bundle of joy!

If I don’t get through the app process, I am naming my son ‘MBA’. Hell yeah!

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unfortunate and shocking

Posted by nixbert on January 12, 2008

I was particularly shocked to hear about Benazir’s assassination. Especially after my last post. Perhaps the writer of the piece in TOI I talked about in my last post would have felt the same if (s)he had noted the unfortunate error.

Why do people still have to die in this age for their ideas or principles? or religion or colour for that matter? What really makes one so threatening to others that they are ready to risk their life and limbs to kill you?

Are we really so bankrupt of thoughts that we have to resort to killing others just to oppose the ideas or morals they represent?

I am as shocked as I am ashamed.

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freudian slip

Posted by nixbert on November 7, 2007

Came across an ineresting line in Times Of India (14th Nov) on page 15. It was in an article on the ongoing crisis in Pakistan and declaration of emergency by their president.

On the second column of the page the writer was indicating that US was aware of the developments in advance and they tipped Benazir off. The line ended with ” and Benazir was advised to live

Obviously the writer wanted to use the word – leave!!

I don’t blame the writer for thinking what (s)he was thinking!

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Dell releases Linux machines….TODAY

Posted by nixbert on May 24, 2007

reported on slashdot.

2 laptops and one desktop to be sold direct from dell with ubuntu 7.04.

here are the direct link to stories –

direct2dell
New Dell site dedicated to Linux update and support
Dell Linux machine price comparison

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mumbai visit

Posted by nixbert on May 24, 2007

I was in Mumbai yesterday.

I must say that I really liked the city. It did help that I was in Hiranandani gardens the whole time before flying out. More to the point though I somehow never associated Mumbai with the ‘ghats’. Well I always knew that the city is located in ghats I always failed picture it with the associated land features. It was quite nice.

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good read ….

Posted by nixbert on February 28, 2007

I finished Freakonomics (the book i supposedly forgot on flight!) over the weekend.

Very interesting read. However it got very predictable towards the end especially Chapter 6 (related to kid’s names and effect it may/may-not have on their future). All in all the book is engaging as much for the methods deployed by author as for the interesting observations revealed by those methods.

I picked up ‘Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid‘ by C.K. Prahalad at Chennai airport and so far it seems like a book, which could really challenge the way one thinks e.g. I am still struggling to accept one of the author’s assertion about ‘capacity to consume’ at the bottom of the pyramid. As far as I see (which usually isn’t much to write home about), strength of this capacity lies in low-margin and huge-volumes. This means that the segment could be fiercely competetive and I am not sure how many MNCs, who generally sit on assured revenue streams will be willing to engage themselves. Sure there are examples of HLL, ITC etc (Shakti and e-chaupal etc) but that brings me to another point, which I am struggling with – Examples cannot serve as proofs. While this book is rich in examples (and plenty of them rooted in Indian context), I am looking more to grasp the underlying idea and emperical studies that author may be able to elucidate. May be I will have to read his original paper. Anyway, it is exactly such line of thought that this books aims to address so it should definetly be a very absorbing read.

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openers…

Posted by nixbert on February 8, 2007

Just noticed something in team composition for today’s India vs SriLanka match.

Here’s the India team –

Zaheer Khan, M Patel, S Sreesanth, Harbhajan Singh, S Tendulkar, V Sehwag, S Ganguly, *R Dravid, D Karthik, R Uthappa, M Dhoni

Can you believe that today we are playing 6 batsmen who have opened for India??

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interdependence? colonialism?

Posted by nixbert on February 6, 2007

Swaminathan Iyer argues in his regular column ‘SWAMINOMICS’ (Times of India, 4th Feb 2007, page 22) that following TATA Steel’s successful bid for Corus, TATA Steel is world’s 268th biggest company and is placed just below Coca Cola. Since TATA group as such is much bigger than Coca-Cola, the old fears of Coca-Colonialism are over. Instead it is now era of TATA colonialism. However he then goes on to state that such rhetoric makes him uneasy because this alliance is in fact an interdependence rather than colonialism. Reason being that Tata’s eagerness to acquire Corus is matched by Corus’s eagerness to be acquired so this is a union, not colonisation.

Well! fair point I guess. However I couldn’t help but compare this to British occupation of India.

One point that often came across is that it was not possible for Britishers to rule India for as long as they did without *some* support from local populace. The argument being that enough people benefitted from the Raj for Britishers to continue and in general India did gain a few things from it – education, administration system, railways being the oft quoted examples. It also came up that the Raj inadvertently ended up unifying a nation, split in several kingdoms, as a whole even if to oppose the Britishers.

Now leaving aside the merits-demerits of those discussions, it could be asserted that atleast some people in India wanted Britishers to stay, even if for their own vested interests. Possibly, such people also held important positions (or were put in such postions) since their interests aligned with British ambitions. My knowledge of history is not very good but I do remember reading that atleast some Rajahs/Nawabs welcomed Britishers to begin with.

If that were the case then we may conclude that even in colonialism there was an eagerness to welcome an imperialistic power. If so then why does Swaminathan hesitates in calling Tata’s acquisition a colonising act? After all we have just seen that eagerness to be ‘acquired’ is no guarantee that the process is *not* colonialism.

News have already started coming in that the Corus union wants guarantee that no jobs will be cut in post-acquisition period. Tata on the other hand has taken a non-commital stance on the issue.

Shades of colonialism? I would say so!

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