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Friday, December 29, 2006

Is Metro Cash and Carry really cheap?

I was going through Metro Cash and Carry's Metro Mail (21.12.06 to 03.01.2007).

I find that the prices quoted are not at all competitive. Giving some comparison here for your information:

Nokia 6030 is quoted at Rs.3946 while as per my knowledge its available for around Rs.3500 will bill

Nokia N73 Music Edition is quoted at Rs.24845 while in Big Bazaar Bangalore the model was costing Rs.24,600

MotoFlip Motorolla W220 is quoted at Rs 3985 (The magazine says MRP is Rs 4341) but Motorola Ads in the Television show the price at 3995, just Rs 10 more than Metro's price.

Olympus FE 170 is quoted at Rs 9175 with 512 MB card (MRP 9995) while this model is being sold by other sellers at Rs.9995 along with 512 SD card and Rechargeable batteries and Battery charger worth Rs 1095

Similarly for other products, I couldn't find a reasonable price difference...

If I'm a shopkeeper and I have to source my supplies from Metro CC, I need to get them at a rate far cheaper than my regular supply chain and distribution mechanism. Now that Metro has set its foot strongly,have they started increasing their margin?

This post is for your information.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Asset Vs Liability

Length: Less than one page
Keywords: Wealth management,financial advice


Though I’m desperately missing a high end multi media device to capture image, listen music and for other entertainment activities, I’m repeatedly suppressing my temptations to buy a high end mobile phone with camera and music player. While I can afford to buy a 20K gadget, what’s preventing me from spending money is the concept of Asset vs. Liability.

What is asset and what is a liability?

Understanding this concept of Asset and Liability is the primary need for any wealth management strategy. You should be able to differentiate what is an asset and what is a liability and focus on building asset first.

Any investment/spending, which, over a period of time pays for itself and starts generating additional value are assets. On the other hand, if you need to keep spending again and again on an object, it is a liability.

For example, a house is a liability if it is unoccupied and you keep spending on it in for tax, maintenance, insurance etc. If it generates money/saves money in terms of rent etc, then in becomes an asset.

A mobile phone is never an asset, unless you use it for some professional purposes and earn some money. A bike is an asset if it results in savings compared to money you might have spent for Auto/Bus etc. Knowledge is an asset as you can use it to earn money. Hobbies like drinking and smoking are liabilities as you keep spending on them and never get anything back in return, except diseases on which you’ll have to spend again.

Robert Kiyosaki’s Rich Dad Poor Dad is a wonderful book for those who wish to know more about wealth management.

At the beginning of our career, we should focus on building assets, which over a period of time, start generating additional revenue and offset the dependency on primary revenue source. If we spend all money on liabilities, the savings will drop and pressure to work hard and earn more will keep increasing. We’ll work for company to earn salary, we’ll work for Government to pay tax, and we’ll work for bank to repay the loan. We’ll never be able to work for ourselves. Investing in assets, on the other hand, will ensure that your money works for you, even if you stop working for money.

Not that we should never indulge in little luxuries life has to offer, just that we need to be cautious in our spending habits. Living in an otherwise spendthrift generation we should understand that savings has advantages other than tax avoidance as well...



Related: Work as an independent Consultant, If you can

Sunday, December 17, 2006

How to select good tender coconut

Do you drink tender coconut water? I do. Those used to Pepsi and Coke may ignore this post.

If you’re buying tender coconut from a road side vendor (its predominantly available at roadside only), how do you select a tender coconut?

Why I asked above question is because of following reasons:
Tender coconut doesn’t come with a manufacturing date, expiry date, batch number, MRP and other such parameters. They’re not uniform in their size, content volume, taste and other details. Because it is straight from the tree, each one is different. So when buying one you have to select one.

This post attempts to give you some advice on how to select best tender coconut for drinking, while buying the same from a vendor. This helps you get best out of your money.

Tender coconut has two parts: Water, and Coconut gravy (Coconut meat-Thanks to Dharani for this input). Many people only drink the water part of it while few love the gravy as well. A vendor usually asks if you want water or the cream but even he may go wrong in selection

These are the key points to keep in mind while selecting a tender coconut:

The vendor: The vendor must be physically strong to cut the coconut efficiently. A small buy or weak lady may not be able to work efficiently on the coconut and you may loose some water.

The size: Select the medium one. The big coconut doesn’t mean more water. The water volume will be minimum in an over ripe coconut. Also avoid too small ones.

Colour: It should be green without much gray patches or strips. Too much of gray a areas on the surface indicate that the coconut is getting over ripe.
tender coconut
Fix the price before hand: Coconut vendors vary price depending on size and other parameters. Fix the price first else you may have to pay a rupee or two more

Don’t let them select: Vendors usually select the one they get their hands on. There might be a better piece nearby. Glance over and select one for yourself.
The straws
Be cautious while using the straw to drink water: Many vendors simply recycle the straws already used and thrown by others. All good effects of the tender coconut will be nullified if you use a dirty/contaminated straw.
Parcel or to Drink:
If you’re allowing the vendor to select the coconut, always tell him it’s for drinking on the spot, later tell him its for parcel. If you directly tell him its for parcel, chances are that you may not get a better deal, because, knowing that you wont open it there he may not choose a good one.

Related: Coco Fresco: Hyderabad's new concept in selling tender coconut * Upadhya's tender coconut opener * Branding tender coconuts with a sticker 

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Govt guarantee for LIC

Genre: Insurance, Money, IRDA, India
Length: 1 Page

Should Government of India withdraw sovereign guarantee its has been giving to the insurance policies issued by target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Life Insurance Corporation (LIC)?

Private insurance companies are desperately trying to get this guarantee lifted. What does it mean to insurance policy holders? This post attempts a brief analysis of this scenario from an investor perspective.

LIC has been the sole operator in Life Insurance business till the sector was opened up to Private players. LIC enjoyed a monopoly till then and had already built a strong customer base, was operating under a good profit, and even after decade since private players stepped in LIC has retained leadership in the business.

What is this Government Guarantee?

LIC is wholly owned by Government of India and was established under LIC Act 1956 according to which Govt of India will be giving sovereign guarantee for the Sum assured and Bonus promised, for the policies sold by LIC. This means that if you buy a LIC policy, there’s 100% assurance that you’ll get whatever minimum benefits guaranteed, even if LIC goes bankrupt.

The private players don’t have this advantage; hence they’re failing to snatch investors from LIC. So they’re trying to get this sovereign guarantee removed, hoping that this will give them level playing field.

Insurance is a long term business which runs for decades. You invest something today and collect your returns 30-40 years later. It’s very much natural that our hard earned money lies in safe hands for decades at a stretch. Over 50 years, LIC has built this trust and has won investor’s confidence, so many people think ten times before considering a private company for insurance policies.

Private companies do not have the patience to wait for decades to build that trust and get returns on their investment. They need quick profit. Their operating costs are high and sales volume is low, add to these there’re strict IRDA regulations and a fierce competition among private players, so LIC’s popularity, market capitalization and government backing are making them envy it. While most of the prospective customers readily do business with LIC agents, because of LIC’s proven brand value, agents representing private insurance companies are often under the pressure to convince people that their company is better than LIC. If government backing is removed, they can try wooing investors highlighting this factor.

Will it happen and what if it happens?
Removing state guarantee to LIC needs amendment to LIC Act, hence it’s not an executive decision but rather a parliamentary one. LIC has grown strong enough to support itself even without state backing, so there’s nothing to worry about. But still, for an investor, state guarantee means added security hence its preferable that Govt guarantee is not lifted. With Govt guarantee its like currency note-acceptable everywhere, while without that it’s like Sodexho pass, acceptable and honored at less places.

When it comes to fund Management,compared to LIC, private insurers have highly paid fund managers whom investors may hope of being capable of deriving better returns, which should offset the high premium rates of these companies. So private players can bank on this and target young investors by giving them better returns coupled with better services.

For some extra info on these click target="_blank" rel="nofollow">here

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Orkut and employee productivity

I’m sure all orkut fans will fume over me on this post. But what I’m going to tell is bare truth which we need to accept.

Of late, internet search major Google’s initiatives are driving people crazy. After becoming an acronym for online searching, Google has come up with several other initiatives such as gmail, adsense program, Google earth among others. The highly innovative minds at Google Labs deserve credit for all these. But one such utility, called orkut has become an addiction for most of the net users.

For the uninitiated few (if any) orkut is a community site supported by Google where individuals are provided with highly user friendly utilities to share their views, meet other people, make friends and indulge in other such social activities, virtually.

There’s absolutely no complaints about the website or the concept behind it. The technological superiority of Google products are almost unrivaled in industry. But the problem comes where people fail to draw a line. Among the younger generation, already addicted to internet, cell phones and other electronic/technical gadgets are wasting a lot of their quality time on orkut while they should have used their time for more productive purposes.

Consider these:

1. Most of the software engineers begin their day with checking orkut scrap book, open their company mailbox only after responding to all scraps.

2. Several personal and official information is publicly shared in orkut, which can be easily misused.

3. Many orkut users get into an unnecessary craze of accumulating maximum number of friends/scraps/fans etc.

4. People sitting in side by side cubicles in a same company use orkut to communicate, instead of some inter company messengers.

5. The average time spent by an employee on internet for personal work is on the increase, which, almost invariably involves orkut.

6. Unlike chat, orkut doesn’t facilitate an instant reply(I mean if people take time to read their scrap and respond). People take more time to respond to a scrap than an Instant Messenger Chat. So the waiting period for reply is more.

As the number of users and community increases, the quality of content falls rapidly. Out of 500+ friends one may have in orkut, how many does he know personally, how many names he’s able to recall and with how many people he’s in active contact? Believe me, that’ll be less than 10% of his number of friends. Most of the other conversations often end in “hi I’m fine you’re fine? bye” types. Most of the communities add no value and usually contain some useless topics like “Guys add 2, Gals subtract 2 we’ll see who wins

There’s no validation mechanism. Anyone can create fake profile in any name and cheat people. Those who wouldn’t have dared doing lots of things in real life, explore their fantasies in orkut under false identity.


While orkut is really great when it comes to finding lost friends, making new friends, and sharing information, I seriously do not see the need for being online in orkut on a 24 by 7 basis. The effort wasted in time pass activities nullifies any good orkut might have done.

On a whole, from a managerial perspective, employee productivity goes down if they’re given unrestricted access to net. But at the same time, will preventing an employee from accessing net increase productivity? Not necessarily. Though most of the companies have started imposing restrictions on internet usage in general and orkut in particular, people find some work around or vent their disappointment in some other way, as a result of which the main purpose behind blocking these sites go for a toss.

The better option would be to increase employee awareness. What stands between right and wrong is an individual’s consciousness, thought and ability to differentiate between what’s right and what’s wrong. Address this and it should let them draw a line themselves.
Some of the Google's initiatives have succeeded in making rival companies like yahoo and Microsoft shiver, other initiatives have drawn Google to court (Google Earth for revealing sensitive establishments and orkut for anti India communities). The fault is not with the product as such, just that people who use/misuse/over use may create trouble. Orkut was ad free when it started but now Google has started minting money by placing text ads (that's the only revenue model Google has, so all Google products invariably need to carry ads to make money)
Sincere apologies if I've offended any orkut fans.




Thanks for reading. If you've liked the above post, you might like following similar posts as well:Check them out:
Orkut as a marketing tool*
Do we need unions in IT companies?*
Email Superstitions*
Indian Education and IT Attrition* Your blog can make or break your career * A guide to engineering studies *
Leave your comments behind...Thanks

Sunday, December 03, 2006

On top of the world

Finally something to cheer about:



Please note that search results will vary w.r.t time and may not be same all the time. Google's search algorithm sorts the results based on numerous criteria and is a highly dynamic phenomenon. Whatever I'm writing is based on the inputs available and validated while writing this post and over a period of time things may change)

For me this is an assurance for the quality of the content in my post and will inspire me to write much better articles. It’s an assurance that what I’ve written has been identified as highly useful for rest of the world. This boosts my spirits and encourages me to write more and more quality articles.

Your encouragement keeps me writing. Thanks. Just sharing my joy.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Will IBM buy Satyam? (2006)

Please Note: March 2009 Update: This post below is about the year 2006 rumor of IBM's Satyam acquisition plans and this post doesn't comment anything on the 2009 developments at Satyam.

Should IBM acquire Satyam? How true is the rumor related to this takeover attempt?

Genre: Mergers & Acquisitions, Hostile takeover, Indian IT business
Length: Over 2 pages

Executive summary:

Media speculations are thickening that IBM is looking into a possible acquisition of Hyderabad based Satyam Computer Services Limited (NYSE:SAY). While both companies have categorically denied any such possibility, a possibility of the same is not being ruled out by the experts. This post performs a comprehensive business analysis of such a possibility, pros and cons.


IBM blue logoDisclaimer: This post makes use of only those information available in public domain and or those information authorized for release into public domain. Views expressed here are the independent views of the author and not necessarily of the organization he works for. Readers are advised to use their discretion before taking any decision based on this post. The writer shall not accept any liability for any errors in the information or in the event of predictions not coming true. Images and logos sourced from internet, property of respective companies.

While rumors on this topic started spreading way back in January 2006, The JP Morgan India’s report titled, ‘Indian IT Services: Implications for sector if IBM were to buy Satyam management stake’ this October added fuel to speculations. Click here for a detailed view of MNC acquisition plans for India

References:
Financial Times Report
Network World

IBM’s need:
A company looks for acquisitions when they feel the need for inorganic growth. (Organic growth involves growing internally, which is a slow and steady process, while for cash rich companies, inorganic growth by acquiring an existing company which has proven competency, resources and market share makes more sense).

It appears very much natural for the "big blue" to look for a greater offshore presence, given the cost factor of Indian companies. Most of the clients who buy IBM products often outsource the implementation to Indian IT service companies, purely because of cost advantage. If IBM can have greater presence in India and emerge as a low cost end to end IT product and service company, its profits will soar. From this angle, IBM’s attempt to acquire some established company in India makes sense.

While IBM has categorically stated that rumors about its attempt to buy Satyam are merely a speculation, recent capGemini acquisition of Kanbay does justify such a probability further.

A more detailed analysis of IBM's India plans can be found here:

Satyam Computers Logo
Why Satyam?

Now, assuming that IBM is in lookout for an Indian IT services company, let’s analyze why Satyam makes itself a fine target and not some other company.

Satyam is fourth largest IT Company in India next only to Infosys, TCS and Wipro. We’ll see why the other 3 are not attractive to acquire.

Majority of Infy shares are accumulated with Infy co founders and top management, who may not entertain any attempts by an external entity to take over. Even if IBM tries, a company like Infy with 60000+ people may not be an attractive buy given that market capitalization and brand value of Infy is very high.

As far as Wipro is concerned, Azim Premji holds over 80% of company stock and without convincing him its impossible to take over the company.

Coming to TCS, Tata’s themselves are on an acquisition drive (trying to buy Corus and other companies) and its unlikely that they’ll do away with their flagship company TCS.

So next in line is Satyam, with founder chairman Ramalinga Raju having just above 14 % stake in the company and majority of investors are of foreign origin, a forced acquisition is very much probable. Cash rich IBM can afford to corner a considerable amount of shares and stake an ownership claim.

Satyam’s statement:

Though Satyam has officially denied having any talks with "Global System Integrator"(interview with CNBC-Link here) and has stated that it will continue to operate as an independent entity, which will be in the best interest of all stakeholders, this kind of statement is quite natural and very much expected from senior management due to following reason:

Acquisition talks go on for years and years (When Wipro finally bought Quantech Global in early 2006 (details here), its believed that Wipro guys were behind Quantech Global for more than 4 years) and if such a highly sensitive matter gets released to public in early stages, it’ll bring down the employee morale and will severely impact immediate deliverables as every employee shall start thinking about his/her fate post acquisition.

Negotiations might have never occurred or might be in progress or may have failed totally. Any management prefers to remain tight lipped till negotiations reach a conclusion.

Why IBM is silent?

No acquiring company will make its plans public in advance due to following reasons:
1. If IBM makes its interest in Satyam official, Satyam stock prices will soar and IBM will end up paying more
2. If IBM fails to buy Satyam or decides to back off at a later stage, it'll be seen as a shame on IBM's part for not being able to acquire a 10 times smaller company.

Note: I'm not saying the statement is false-Just the compulsions which might have forced such a statement deserve a consideration. For the reasons specified above certain business decisions are better kept secret. But some smart journalist might have got a tip off from a key executive in either of the company, or someone else might have just triggered a rumor. No one knows.

What Satyam Can Do to avoid a hostile takeover?

If IBM is determined to acquire Satyam by hook or crook, what options does the later have? Here are few:

Corner majority shares: Satyam promoters need to spend a fortune and corner huge number of shares so that IBM will never be able to gather controlling amount of stake.

Take investors into confidence: Take investors into confidence and hope that they’ll not fall for temptations of IBM

Create poison pill: Hire more people than needed, partner with IBM’s competition and indulge in other such activities, with a sole purpose of making the company look inattractive for a prospective buyer

Find an alternate buyer: (This is exactly what Arcelor did when Mittal attempted a hostile takeover)This will trigger a price war and either Satyam gets more money than it would have otherwise got or the buyers will back off if they feel its not worth pursuing this hunt


What if it happens?
A quick analysis on what might happen if this acquisition ever takes place:

For Satyam employees: IBM employee policies shall supersede existing policies and IBM management will bring in an organizational restructuring as per their vision and expectation. Satyam may loose its Hyderabadi touch as IBM may not have any preference/sentiments/commitments that Satyam as an Indian company had. All these might be beneficial to some, while is sure to cause inconvenience to many of the employees, as their comfort zone will be disturbed. They'll have a MNC stamping to their resume but may loose their identity as they'll get lost in the sea of IBM's 300,000 plus headcount.

IBM may or might not be interested in all of Satyam's business. Satyam’s competency and service offerings extend beyond IBM products and technologies, including IBM’s competitors. So those service offerings which involve IBM’s competitor’s products might get disintegrated. (Even if they’re retained, customers won’t trust IBM to implement a competitor product)

Will there be a lay off? Considering the knowledge crunch, that seems unlikely. But if IBM feels it's better to reduce head count, there's no reason why they'll hesitate. They've done it in past, can do it again.

Other IT service companies in India might suffer a set back as they might loose considerable business in the field of IBM products and technologies. But this impact will not be severe enough to pose any threat to these companies.

For investors of Satyam: They can either choose to make one time big money by selling their shares to IBM or may choose to hold and get better returns in the long run. Getting acquired means loosing one’s identity and reporting to someone else. So people who want to run their own show may resist an acquisition effort. All depends on their strategic vision, tactics and expectations.

For IBM: IBM will be able to provide a better range of end to end business solutions to its customers at lower price. From requirement gathering to product development to implementation to testing to support, they can boast of a full cycle business solution.

For Indian Society: For the Indian society, it's better Satyam operates as an independent entity. IBM may not contribute to social causes to the extent Satyam foundation is doing.

So will it happen?Will the big blue engulf small blue?(IBM's "On demand business" and Satyam's "what Business Demands" sync very much :-)) If not Satyam then Cognizant appears to be the next attractive target.

That’s a billion dollar question only time can answer. As this is something which will happen at boardroom level we’ll wait and see.

You have just read the most popular post on this blog. More details on takover mechanism can be found at Wikipedia

While above article is more of an Indian perspective of this takeover speculation, I found following blog post very much useful as the post and comments analyse the situation from a western perspective: Deal Architect's Blog

Other Business Posts:
Removal of Government Guarantee for LIC India
Best Employer Surveys-An analysis
Stopping Piracy-An advice
Our Education System and Industry Attrition-An Observation
The Compulsions of software people

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Sunday, November 26, 2006

Hyderabad 10K Run-First hand Report

Executive summary- This post gives first hand experience of Hyderabad 10K run organized on 26 September 2006 in Hyderabad India. The post gives overview of the event as well as writer’s experience/view on the subject.

Racing against the expectation that I’ll come to office and work, I participated in Hyderabad 10k run today morning and this post is a first hand experience of my participation.

Media Report
For those of you looking for quick info on Hyderabad 10K run, here’s a summary. What follows is an elaborated post giving additional inputs and views.

Hyderabad, Nov 25: The Radha Realty Hyderabad 10K run and half Marathon were successfully completed this morning at People’s Plaza, Necklace Road, Secunderabad. Several thousand participants, from across India and abroad ran for a cause today, showing the spirit of Hyderabad. Proceeds after the event expense will be used to encourage those who lack resources and to support various social issues related to Health, Sports and Fitness. Click here for full list of sponsors. . Apollo Hospital provided medical assistance while Coca cola sponsored free drinking water. Traffic Police extended their support by closing the roads for vehicles during the run.

The run was pretty pleasant as the track had beautiful scenery of Hussain Sagar Lake and had several teams cheering runners all the way. I do not have the official winners list at this moment.

---End of media report-Additional description follows---

About a month ago, in my SMS and WIN post (http://www.enidhi.net/2006/10/sms-and-win.html), I’d commented about how SMS based contests often mislead people. But this time I’ve a good experience to share. Few weeks back as I was listening to Radio City on 91.1 Mega Hertz Frequency Modulation, the RJ asked a question: Why do you want to run? Send your answer by SMS to 7007 and win participation to Hyderabad 10k run. I had a genuine reason (which I’m not writing here as that statement is now proprietary information of Radio City), so I typed it, sent it across and forgot about it. Next Monday I got a call from Radio City and I was told “Congrats, you’ve won participation for Hyderabad 10K run and you’ll be running with Radio City team, please collect your participation kit from our office 20th November 2006 onwards”

Prior to this when I’d seen ads of 10K run in media I was considering running. Upon inquiry I learnt that participation costs Rs 200 and registration can be done at any Post Office. More details here. The kit involves a T shirt and a chest number. Now that I won an entry via Radio city, it was much more fun.

I reached the spot very early-at 5.45 AM today. The half marathon was flagged off first. People started assembling for 10K run and at around 7 AM stage was filled with filmstars, politicians and business men, who had their own interest in the crowd. While few girls behind me were struggling to get a better view of Akshaay Kumar, on stage he was blowing wistels and challenging people to do the same. Sameera Reddy openly declared she wants to hear the boys shout for her. Those on stage never bothered to run, and their way of motivating people was limited to their speeches and actions on stage.

The Radio city RJ Anuj compered the stage event and started count down for the 10K run while everyone were near the podium looking at stars. This made many people rush to starting point. (Serious runners were flagged off separately; I’m speaking of general crowd)

How not to run and yet not get caught?

Personally I’m not a professional athlete. I wanted to experience the 10K run so I was there. It was a great experience. There was no way I could run 10 KM and win. I ran for the first few KM and there after I walked, as fast as I could. All tricks of how not to run yet not get caught, which I’d mastered during my higher primary schooling (JNVC) were fully employed today after several years.I took little less than 90 mins to cover 10k, good enough.

I could see different kinds of people, such as

*Professional athletes who know what to do and what not during a marathon
*People who'll run only when there's a camera aimed at them

*People who’ll run only when there’re good looking girls around,
*People who take a break of 15 mins at a stretch but pose as if they’ve stopped only for a moment, just to tie their shoe lace.
*People who cant do without their cell phone and PDA and wanted connectivity on the run
*People busy taking photographs

*Someone who wanted to run in memory of his lost son Arun
*Children, youngsters,elders, Foreigners, software engineers, all kind of people

There were lots of people to cheer runners. Several schools had their music band playing instruments, Companies liked Deloitte had dedicated teams to cheer their employees at every milestone (As against some of the workplaces where you’ll be loaded with another deliverable and deadline as soon as you finish with one), Volunteers to provide water, glucose. Pickup vans to lift people who couldn’t run anymore, ambulances and other arrangements were good.

I left the scene at around 9.15 and started back. Some more stage shows were going on and winner’s list was coming up. My first long run after several years has thus ended. The fatigue in legs will take some time to heal.

The event is only an excuse. If you wish to run, you can run anytime, anywhere. But running in an exclusive environment has its own advantages.

Friday, November 24, 2006

A driver's instincts

Driver’s Instincts

In this post I’ll tell you something about driver’s instincts.

Few of us enjoy driving while most of us prefer to sit in the back seat. In present Indian roads driving isn’t much of a pleasure; hence many prefer to avoid it.

If you’re a driver, you’ll learn lots of things other than just how to drive your vehicle.

Here are some of them.

1. A driver might not have studied vectors at school or might not have much knowledge on laws of motion. But if someone is crossing the road, driver’s mind works faster than a super computer and by analyzing the direction and speed of the moving object the driver will determine whether he can proceed with present speed, or should he slow down.

2. Driving is one job where one can take hundreds of independent decisions every minute, however small it is. Every second driver has to decide-should he speed up or slow down, when to change the lane, when to use horn, indicator, to overtake or not to over take, should he ignore the cop who’s trying to stop him or should he pull over. You don’t get to take so many decisions in any other job!

3. A driver knows exactly how many milliseconds he can afford to spend on “Something beautiful” on the roadside.

By observing for few seconds how the other vehicle is run a professional driver can come to a conclusion about the other driver-is that driver skilled and professional? Is he rash and negligent and may make some unpredictable move? Is he amateur and needs some consideration.

Good drivers will have good memory-One should be able to remember the route between two places after first journey. If you keep asking how to go to a place again and again, you can’t be a good driver.

If you’re using same vehicle since long time, you might have noticed that your vehicle and your body get synchronized. Your hands and legs respond to a situation before the brain issues a specific command to that effect. This helps you develop a strong emotional bond with your vehicle and is mutually beneficial.

Why accidents happen?

Youngsters are often blamed for driving at high speed. Speeding is not wrong, provided the driver maintains the safe braking distance (SBD). The safe braking distance is the distance traveled between the time driver senses a danger (and applies brake) and the vehicle is brought to complete halt. Safe Braking Distance varies depending on the speed, speed of vehicles in front of and behind you, nature of road surface,available vision and braking abilities of the vehicle. SBD needs to be maintained both between the vehicle in front of you and the vehicle behind you. If you don’t maintain SBD you won’t be able to stop the vehicle in time, hence accidents happen. Simple.

Universally known, a driver shouldn’t be under the influence of alcohol, as it reduces judgment abilities and vision.

Similarly avoid driving if you’re not in sound state of mind. If you had a heated argument with your boss or a fight with your wife, driving with a disturbed state of mind can be fatal.

Failure to anticipate disaster and being in a state of unpreparedness:
Drivers should always keep an eye open for potential dangers. He/She should keep himself/herself prepared for various eventualities. Most often its not Speeding that kills people-it’s the drivers lack of alertness that causes problem. For example, if I’m alert and responsive to other vehicles on the highway, I can drive at 100kmph and reach home alive, while on the other hand, even if you’re driving at 20 kmph, if you fail to notice the right turn indicator of the vehicle ahead of you, you may invite trouble.

Risk Mitigation:
A sensible driver comes up with risk mitigation strategies as and when he anticipates a mishap. It may not be possible to avoid a danger all the time. A driver’s judgment decides what best can be done with remaining time and distance so as to reduce the damage to the life of himself and the passengers. It’s a split second decision which makes or ends a life.

These are some of the reason why I enjoy driving-bigger the vehicle more the fun.

While a driver's job is attributed with a low profile semi skilled labor, he certainly deserves a thanks when he safely drops you at your place.


Let me know what you think of this topic.
__________________________________________________________________
Below is the slideshow of photos taken during my visit to Golconda fort. The post on this can be found here:




(Tried to add this slideshow in that post itself but facing some technical issues)
Related:
Tips and Tricks for minimizing inconvenience with traffic cops * Chennai-Bangalore-Mysore on Self drive * eNidhi drives tractor

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Anantagiri Hills: Trekking Expedition

On November 12, I was on a trekking expedition along with few of my colleagues and their friends- Anantagiri Hills off Hyderabad.

A better description of Ananta Giri Hills trekking expedition is available in this blog: (Link courtesy Pavan)

Its very essential that we take a break once in a while from the intellectual (??) work at office where there'll be no physical activities. This trekking expedition did provide that necessary refreshment.

The link given above gives almost full description of Anantagiri Hill and related information. Instead of repeating the same I'll only give some key useful points regarding this expedition
1. If you're starting from Hyderabad Anantagiri Hill can be scheduled as a one day program. Around 2 hours of travel one way. If you can start pretty early, you can cover Ananta Padmanabha Temple, and few other places as well (Such as Golconda) on the same day.
2. Carry enough water and food. There's no provision for food and water nearby (Vikarabad is the nearest town, 6kms from here). There's an Inspection Bungalow owned by Andhra Pradesh Forest Department, which is totally abandoned. The day we went we were lucky as one of the local MLA had come to this IB to celebrate something and his servant gave us drinking water which they'd bought.
3. Don't expect any wild life or consumable food items on trees. The forest is not dense enough (in comparison to western ghats and Neelgiri hills I'd been to). This one is pretty simple, lots of grass and thorny bushes and known for medicinal plants. You'll not get lost. Finding the right direction is pretty easy as there're open areas and roads which can be spotted easily as you climb up the hill. As this place has become a weekend destination, components left behind by others will also guide you.
4. This place is some 100kms off Hyderabad, on a state highway that leads to Bijapur, Karnataka. Government buses are available from Hyderabad till Vikarabad, from where autos can be taken. Bikes or private vehicles would be best.
5. Mobile signal is pretty good, for both Airtel and Hutch (now Vodafone). No worries on that front
6. Avoid smoking. The grass being at very low ignition temperature can catch fire at slightest provocation and can cause a disaster.
7. There're companies which provide professional guidance and support for trekking expedition. But this one is pretty simple enough and even amateurs can handle on their own. Be sure to carry basic equipment like good shoes and some supply of food and first aid.

Thanks for all those who participated and or provided strategic and operational support.

Related: Trekking at Skanda Giri Hills (Near Bangalore) * TADA (in AP, 100 kms off Chennai) * Javadhu Hills * Yelagiri bike trip * Deep forest trekking- Experience and precautions * Nagala, Parvathamalai, Nagari *

Shilparamam (Madhapur Hyderabad)


Shilparaamam is a village like environment cum good relaxation centre next to Cyber tower, Hitech City, Hyderabad.

Shilparaamam contains following:

Shopping section-Handicrafts, Dress materials and other village made products are sold here at below market price. Mysore Sales International Limited (MSIL) has a permanent stall here which sells several items ranging from Mysore Sandal soap to pure sandalwood dining table worth several lakh rupees.

You'll also find food stalls, artists specializing in Mehandi, drawing etc.

Amphitheater: Lot of cultural activities keep happening here during weekends.

Lake: Small lake with boating facility (2 and 4 seaters, self peddle)

Rock Garden: Natural rocks which represent various shapes-such as lord Ganesha, fish, frog, mother feeding a baby etc are on display

Heritage Village-You can see villagers (clay made models) in action-blacksmith, potter, etc.

The village environment and scenery are carefully replicated here

Needless to say there’re lots of trees and shadow and a nice environment to spend time in peace. Entry fee: Rs 10, Boating: Rs 10 extra. Worth it. Wish they could give me a monthly pass…

Don’t forget to spend some time at this place when you come to Hyderabad.
This place is at a walkable distance from my office (as well as home).



Aug 2007 Updates:Shilparamam is currently undergoing renovation and is not all that convenient to visit at this moment.

Other places around Hyderabad: Anantagiri Hills | Durgam Cheruvu |Golconda Fort| Ramoji Film City |

Do you like Pepsi?

Yesterday evening I tasted Pepsi for the first time and didn't like it at all.

Was trying some chat items at a stupid restaurant downtown Panjagutta (A place in Hyderabad) and Pepsi came along in the combo offer.

I'm wondering how Indra Nooyi and team managing billion dollar business selling an aerated drink like pepsi... I'll be thankful to anyone who have been drinking these drinks for long time and can answer these questions:

1. What is that you like in soft drinks? Sweetness/Taste/Chill/flavor ?
2. After drinking do you really feel refreshed/energetic?
3. Any improvements in your health after drinking them long term?
4. Why do you think people prefer these drinks in comparison with other juices/drinks of same price? Is it just advertisements and brand name? Or anything else?

In todays world it takes lots of guts to say I dont drink soft drinks. I'm just unable to figure out what value these drinks add... Please leave behind your thoughts...

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Best Employer: Best way to Survey…

Genre: HR/Companies/Workspace
Length: Less than 800 words (2 Pages)

I’m nearly one month late in coming up with this post. The November 5, 2006 issue of Business Today speaks of Best companies to work for in India. A BT-TNS-Mercer survey tries to find out India’s best employers.

I won’t replicate the entire survey here. I have made some observations which I wish to share.

Disclaimer: Contents of this post are derived from public domain and/or information meant for release to public domain. No company specific confidential data has been compromised and the views expressed here are that of the writer as an individual, not necessarily of the organization he works for.

1. The survey compares all companies irrespective of headcount under one umbrella. There’s a huge difference in terms of complexity involved in managing people, at a company which has 200 employees compared to one which has 20000 employees.


2. The number of companies covered are very very few. Companies interested in participation were expected to register online, only 131 choose to participate (Page 78 of the magazine). The number of companies in India (with headcount 200+) are several thousand times this number, so several potential best employers were not covered in the survey

3. The contact details of employees who were surveyed, was obtained from the company itself. (Though respondents were chosen randomly out the list given by HR) Now, consider this: If you ask the HR manager of a company:”Give me a list of employees whom I can contact to conduct survey”, any HR Manager who’s sensitive to the importance and impact of such surveys will be careful enough to give contact details of only those employees who are guaranteed to give a positive feedback. (Or he might exercise influence/tempt these employees to give positive feedback). If you need a true opinion, you should ensure that the person being asked for opinion is giving his true opinion, without being under the influence/temptation/fear.

4. Those who are operational for less than 4 years in India are left out of survey. Because they need criteria to eliminate participants this can be justified, but I personally doesn’t believe a company shouldn’t/can’t be in top slot within 4 years.

5. I’m not sure what percentages of employees were covered under the survey. Unless you survey a reasonable percentage of employees (say min 10-15%) you shouldn’t reach to a conclusion about the company which employs 30000 to 60000 people. This rationale is explained below

When working in large organizations, an employee’s perception of the company is framed by his immediate management and his team member. Except a few like HR and Marketing people whose very job involves meeting several people a day, most of the employees work in a small group, with a manager or team above him, few team members and subordinates. How his manager treats him and how comfortable he is within his team will have more importance than what rest of several thousand employees of the company are doing. For example, hardly 10% of the decision the CEO takes in board meeting will have a direct impact on my day to day activity, while over 90% of decisions my manager takes in the team meeting will affect me directly. So if an employee is happy with his immediate management, comfortable with his team and subordinate, he’s happy. If not, if his immediate environment is suffocating, he'll look for a change, irrespective of company reputation or salary.

So within a same company, an individual (say A) who’s got all possible benefits, considerations and courtesies will give a positive opinion, while another one (say B) who didn’t get even the elementary courtesies will give negative opinion. So if you join a company listening to A’s words and happen to get into B’s team, you may not get what you expected. Either you ask several people and take an average opinion or dig deep and find out why an individual is happy/ unhappy.

While getting a rank in top 10 will increase employee morale and spirit, and company can use this survey result to attract and retain talent saying they’re the best employers in the country, I do not believe these surveys are not reliable enough to take a career decision, given the limitations (as listed above). A prospective employee should use his/her own discretion before taking a decision.

Also read- How to leave your foot prints and make others follow it (Humor)

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Patna Man wins Aish's Skirt-Impact Analysis Report

Aishwarya Rai in Dhoom 2 movie
While India and Australia are battling a do or die match out there at Mohali, one out of mind person called Shrinidhi is sitting in front of a computer worrying about who’s going to wear Aishwarya Rai’s skirt.

As I was browsing through TV channels this afternoon (29th Oct 2006 around 1300 Hours IST), I stopped at Sony MAX where Extra innings program, compered by Mandira Bedi and Rohit Roy was going on. They were having a word with their Guest of the day, Miss Aishwarya Rai. After a chat about the movie Dhoom:2 in which Aish had a role, Mandira announced a name (I forgot the name of the winner ,who apparently won some SMS contest I believe.) and stated that this winner (he’s a gentleman from Patna) would be getting a white skirt, which was worn by Aishwarya Rai in Dhoom:2 movie (See the Dhoom:2 poster to get the view of that skirt)

In other words, someone from Patna has got an opportunity to flaunt a skirt which was worn by beauty legend Aishwarya Rai. This post is an attempt to analyze the event and rationale behind it.

Disclaimer: This post is intended purely to be humorous in nature and doesn’t wish to attack anyone’s sentiments/feelings. This is not an attempt to defame Aishwarya or criticize anyone. I’ve used best possible language to voice my view. Sincere apologies if I’m sounding indecent or have hurt your feelings.

As said earlier a gentleman from Patna has got a skirt worn be Aish. The question is, what will he do with it? Since the dress material is meant for a lady I doubt he’ll wear it himself.

Now there’re two things: he has a girlfriend/wife/sister/daughter etc to whom he can gift this or he doesn’t have anyone to gift it.

If he has got some one already fine. If he doesn’t have anyone there’ll be two things: Either he’ll keep this skirt with himself or he’ll try to find someone to whom he can gift it.

If he keeps it with himself fine. Else there’ll be two things: Either some lady will approach him (hearing that he owns it) asking for the skirt or he’ll have to advertise he’s got Aish’s skirt and needs someone who can wear it.

If someone comes to him fine. If he advertises there can be two things: He’ll get a response or he’ll not get a response…

Ok. Enough

Now that this person owns Aish’s skirt the curious point is whom he’ll give it to wear. Since the skirt is designed for a particular body dimension, everyone can’t wear it. This person has now got an additional task-he’s to find someone who’ll fit into it.

Given the length of the skirt, I seriously doubt if any respectable Indian lady would dare to wear this skirt and venture out in public. So he’s to find a lady who’ll fit into the dress and is willing to use it. If he already has a girlfriend/wife/daughter/sister to whom he would have given it but they either don’t fit in or do not want to wear it and he chooses to get an outsider to wear it, he’ll be facing additional problems at home.

Assuming that all works out and he goes out with duplicate Aish (I mean lady wearing original Aish’s skirt), how many people will recognize it and appreciate it? (If no one does what’s the point in all these effort?). Trends set by film stars are copied overnight and duplicate cloths similar to latest ones used by starts would be available everywhere. So how does this lady convince that what she’s wearing is original one directly from Aish’s wardrobe? Will she also carry “Certification of Authenticity” along?

Whoever that person is (who won Aish’s skirt), I wish him good luck.

Too many unanswered but practical questions. Good food for though I believe.

On the other hand, Aishwarya Rai is rich enough to afford hundreds and thousands of dresses per day. However, from a practical view, assuming that she’ll use ten sets of dresses per day, that will be 3650 sets of dresses per year. Further, each set will have several pieces of cloths-skirts, tops, socks, etc etc. So approximately she’ll be using over 10000 pieces of cloths per year. While its true that she’s can make a fortune by auctioning these (not that she hasn’t made a fortune already) what will be the significance, if you get hold of one piece of cloth used by her? Will you boast “skirt worn be Aish on so and so date between this time to this time”? Who actually cares?

Auctioning celebrity materials is very common abroad. This is mostly done with a purpose of raising funds for charity. Billionaires with overflowing wallet would happily shell millions on even small things ever used by celebrities. The trend is creeping into India slowly. Though in this case it was not an auction but was a prize for winning the contest, I’m not sure if we can welcome this or not.

What do you think? Please leave your comments or drop a mail.


Thanks for reading. Consider leaving your comments behind...
The SMS and Win Mania...

Friday, October 27, 2006

Chennai Police play NYPD:Courtesy Hyundai


If you’ve been to US or at least watched English action movies you will be familiar with while coloured police cars belonging to NYPD (New York Police Department) or LAPD: Los Angeles Police Department.

Ever did dream Indian police would be like that? For the first time, it has happened.

Indian police forces are habituated to Mahindra Jeep, the ever sturdy and robust off road vehicle from Mahindra & Mahindra. They’re good, reliable but weren’t meant for speed. Of late police forces are being equipped with modern vehicles, at least Tata Sumo and Toyota Qualis, cutting heavily into M&M’s market share in this segment. But the concept of using a luxury car as a police patrol vehicle is very new for us.

All fine. Why am I telling all these? Few days ago Korean auto giant Hyundai gifted Chennai Police with 100 Accent cars. For the first time ever in India, our police forces would be patrolling around in a well equipped and high speed car. That’s a good change.
Chennai Police hyundai Accent patrol car
(Above photo created lots of sensation after being lifted by TOI without permission and credit- read details)

I saw this news on CNN-IBN few days ago and wanted to write about it. Was looking for a good photo on this and while searching found that another Channai based blogger has already written about it.

While Chennai Police have got a chance to compare themselves with NYPD, what remains to be seen is will they pickup the skills and efficiency (not that they’re inefficient) of US police departments as well when it comes to reinforcing law and order.

Next time you break the law and choose to speed away, be aware. CCPD (Chennai City Police Department) may choose to give you a chase rather than watching helplessly.
Chennai Police Patrol Bike
While Hyundai’s Corporate Social Responsibility is appreciated, I expect this gives them enough publicity to reverse the falling sales of Accent, which is off late loosing its market share to Ford Fiesta and Chevy Aveo.

The first photo used here is taken from the blog of லோகேஷ் தமிழ்செல்வன். த (Logesh TamilSelvan. D). Second and third photos by author.

Similar posts:
Compare Chennai with Hyderabad and Bangalore
An experience with Chennai Police
Tips and Tricks for minimizing inconvenience with traffic cops

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Bidar, Karnataka's Camry

With leave request denied, I couldn’t make it to my native in Karnataka, Udupi to celebrate Diwali. However, one thing I could do was to cross the AP border and visit Karnataka and get my satisfaction by touching Kannada soil…Hence a visit to Bidar was scheduled and executed.

Bidar, Karnataka’s north most district, is nearer to other state capital than its own (statement by
NR Bhat)). Its just 130 kms from Hyderabad and I visited this place this Friday on my bike. It took 3 hours while going and 3.5 hours while coming (return journey was slow due to reduction in visibility during night). While going I was accompanied with my colleague Rakesh who is from Bidar, while returning I was alone.

From Hyderabad the first 50 kms were a bit rough and the journey was smooth for rest of the way. Bidar has the tropical red soil and a bit hot (Raichur district is still hotter). The Petrol is expensive at Rs 55.21 per liter as against Rs 53.28 in Hyderabad. (53.07 per liter on highway, some 50 kms from Hyderabad)

There’re couple of tourist places in Bidar, main one being the Fort. Bidar fort has a huge potential to become a tourist attraction but is by and large abandoned. There’s no one to take care of these ancient building. I could take my bike anywhere inside the fort, no one to ask. Compared to the Golconda fort I’d visited a month ago this place is huge in area, but highly deteriorated due to bad maintenance. The scenery was good and yet another time I realized how desperately I'm missing a digital camera.

The other tourist place was Gurunanak Bhavan, reportedly the third largest in India (Not sure on this).

People here are friendly, speak typical north Karnataka Kannada and speak Marathi and Telugu as well. Sign boards are all written in Kannada. The city, tough a district head quarter, doesn’t seem like one. Had there been necessary political and administrative goodwill, it would have developed much better. Good thing was that I could make local calls from here to Karnataka mobile numbers. Spent around 20 coins speaking for about 45 seconds each. Bought several Kannada magazines, mainly Deepavali Visheshankas –enough reading for next several months.

There’re no direct road to Bangalore from here. All Bangalore bound buses enter AP travel through AP and reach Bangalore. The internal route, via Raichur and other cities is not good enough, I was told.

No camera, no photos. Returned in evening back to Hyderabad, saw LRMB on VCD player and logged off for the day.

Note: Camry is a Japanese word meaning Crown


You may also wish to read:
Keladi Fort * Bekal Fort photos * Monkeyman in Chitradurga Fort * Skandagiri * Nandi Hills *Alamparai fort and backwaters * Mattur near Shimoga * Kodachadri * Gingee Fort * Golconda fort, Hyderabad * Hampi * Bidar * Madhugiri Fort, Tumkur *

Why hate hate communities?

Of late we’ve seen mails stating “So and so has created Hate XYZ community and is doing so and so…Please do this and this to stop this”

"The Aurangabad Bench of the Bombay High Court had directed the Maharashtra Government to issue a notice to Google for allegedly spreading hatred about India on its networking service Orkut."

The fact: Some individual has created a group on the internet with a sole purpose of spreading negative thoughts about something-Say a country called India.

Our Mindset: Nobody should hate India (or anything I/we like, for that matter) and if anyone say they hate us destroy them (get their community deleted at least)

What we do: Give huge publicity to these communities, forward them to all our contacts, and file a case in court, requesting these communities to be banned.

The result: Whoever said he hates India gets enough publicity all over India for free, people visit this community to see what’s there, and eventually, though his community is deleted, the message he wanted to convey gets conveyed without an iota of effort. Without any problem he can start another community with similar idea elsewhere.

An analysis: Internet is all about freedom of expression. If someone doesn’t like someone or something he/she is free to air his/her expression and others do not have a right or a mechanism to prevent him/her from speaking what he/she wants to speak. Internet is a huge world with trillions of users and the impact of few hundred people spreading some negative thoughts will be negligible, if any. Sometimes we get too sentimental or emotional to think and analyze things beyond a limit. After my analysis of these hate communities I’m left with following questions:

Given that there’re trillions of users in internet and billions of communities, just because a hundred people say they hate India and another 100 crores shout back “How dare you hate India?” does the rest of the world bother? Or a few people liking us or hating us on internet make any difference to our lives?

Just because he/she doesn’t like us should we go and prevent him/her from speaking (It’s their freedom of expression after all)?. Why are we giving them world wide free publicity in doing so?

Do we have a mechanism to prevent them from speaking? We may close one community or two. Another hundred may come up elsewhere in no time. How long will we go about wasting our time and energy on these while their impact, if any is negligible?

Why are we blaming Google for this?
Is Google supposed to monitor who posts what? It has only given a platform for people to share their thoughts and there’s no rule that all thoughts must be positive all the time. For every 100 people who like something there’ll be around 10 people who may not like the same thing. Should we identify these 10 people and kill them?

No one can do moral policing over Internet. Because Google has offices in India Indian courts are in a position to issue a legal notice. What if Google shifts its office outside India? To whom will these people complain? Even if Google blocks these communities they’ll take a rebirth elsewhere.

So why are we wasting our energy and time on this? Why can’t we just ignore them and proceed with our daily activities?

Disclaimer: I love my country, I love India. By posting this writing I’m not supporting those who hate India. Because I analyze everything from an independent viewpoint I found that we’re giving too much importance to these Hate communities. Hence this post.

If you fight with a pig in dirty mud, only you’ll come out in dirty cloths while the pig enjoys the fight.Its purpose of making you dirty and having some fun gets served the moment you start fighting, irrespective of the pig winning or loosing the fight. People outside are matured enough to take independent decisions irrespective of who hate and who love India. We’ve proved our potentials and the world realizes our capabilities. So as long as we stick to our principles and values and be honest in what we do, a few desperate people shouting outside is not worth giving a damn. Let us respect their right to expression of speech. Instead of trying to shut their mouth let’s work hard and convince the world that their statements do not carry any significance.

If we demand/beg or insist that everyone should love India do you think the whole world will agree?

Hate communities are out there for everything. Different people hate different things based on their individual judgment. Its neither feasible to please everyone nor dictate everyone to like something.

Few things shouldn’t be demanded. They’re to be commanded.

What do you think? Do you agree with my view?
Note: Sincere apologies if I have hurt your patriotic feelings.




Thanks for reading. Similar posts you might like:
Check them out:
How orkut is affecting employee productivity

Consider leaving your thoughts behind
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Sunday, October 15, 2006

SMS and Win !!!

How often do you send commercial SMSs? I mean messages sent to four digit numbers as shown in/for the purpose of TV shows, contests, sms polls etc?

SMS can do wonders isn't it? At least it is projected so. By sending SMS you can win prizes worth several lakhs to crores, you can decide who will win the Indian Idol title. You can win a date with a superstar; you can get a whole bunch of products and services at your door step. You can get your loved ones name on screen of a television music channel, you can get whole lot of information related to astrology, weather, cricket, stock, and you name it.

True. But at what cost?

These SMS are not free. They come at a premium price, much higher than the cost of an SMS sent to another mobile number. On an average each SMS cost Rs 2 to Rs 7 (even more). I’m sure most of the people are aware of this. But people don’t mind rather they don’t care. Five rupees is no big amount for many mobile users and this is the fundamental concept exploited by those who run SMS based activities. Tiny drops make mighty ocean. Even if one lakh people out of several crores mobile users send a message each, one can make couple of lakh rupees in no time.

Luring people to waste their currency by tempting them to send SMS is another way to stay in business for mobile operators. The money is shared by network operator, SMS event organizer, and Govt (as tax). When I loose 5 Rs currency per SMS the actual value is always a bit higher. (For 300Rs talk time if I pay 350 Rs while recharging, the actual cost of Rs 5 talk time is 5.83 paisa). But generally no one cares.

SMS based activities are really convenient and hence have picked up momentum very fast. Appears so simple and cheap, but the volume of money involved behind the screen is very huge. I’m not saying don’t send such SMSs. After all it’s your mobile, your money, your fun.

Another factor to be noted is there's nothing you can do after sending out the SMS. There's no guarantee that you'll be informed who won the contest, no guarantee that your vote is counted, nothing you can do if your message doesn't appear on screen.


Let me know what you think of this…




Thanks for reading. If you have liked this, you might like these as well:
Check them out:
Celebrity Auctioning:Aish's Skirt
mGinger's read SMS and earn money program: Feasibility report

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Hyderabad, Bangalore, Chennai-Comparison of 3 cities

IN past few years I stayed at Bangalore, Hyderabad and Chennai. This post lists the ups and downs of these three cities-the pros and cons, from my view.

Quick Jump: Bangalore *Chennai* Hyderabad*Hyderabad Bangalore by Bus-Comparison of operators

City Name: Bangalore (Bengaluru)
Garden city and IT capital. Bangalore was not initially designed to grow this big; hence infrastructure limitations are causing a major hindrance to cities growth potential. Facing stiff competition from Hyderabad and Chennai.

-Good things:

1. Multi Language, multi cultural support
2. Cheap Food (No other cities you get Mini meals for Rs 10)(Updated Darshini price:Rs 15-20)
3. Great weather
4. Most number of educational institutions (Ready Man Power)
5. Relatively cleaner better and more frequent Metro Bus Service
6. Daily Bus Pass Rate is cheapest
7. Magazines and movies of all languages available
8. Highest amount of Software export, conducts BangaloreIT.in, annual IT event and still retains IT Capital, Silicon Valley of India tag.
9. Considerable weekend spots and hangout places [Skanda Giri][Nandi Hills][Big Banyan Tree][Mysore][Wayanad][Talakona][Coorg] [Ramanagaram] [Antaragange, Kolar]
10.Volvo City buses details)

11. Good number of public gardens in almost all locality. (Though open for few specific hours in morning and evening, these are good places to inhale some fresh air and relax)
12. Maximum number of malls and multiplexes
13. Kamat Restaurants on all important highways on the outskirts of Bangalore. Ideal place to have food while planning a trip. Couldn't find any decent restaurant on highways outside Chennai (except ECR)
14: Bangalore now is the only city in South to have Metro. Chennai has local trains and metro is under development.
15: Major industries: Toyota, Volvo, Infosys, Biocon, Wipro, ISRO, HAL, NAL, BHEL
16. Lots of self drive car and bike rental options

Cons
1. Over crowded roads and unbearable Traffic
2. Land cost and house rent-too expensive
3. House advance-10 months rent min (Other cities 1 to 5 months rent)
4. Highest Petrol Cost
5. NO local trains (Both other cities have it) [update: metro is operational now, but covers a very short distance]
6. Shortage of Hotel Rooms and high cost
7. No stable government for past few years
8. Cost of transport high and No concept of Share Autos
9. Very strict traffic police, who accept bribe happily
10. Several under construction flyovers

11. Competition is very high for almost everything-space, jobs etc, compared to other cities

City Name: Chennai (formerly Madras) [Go to TOP ]

A typical south Indian city, kept itself away from influences of north India but Chennai businessmen are now forced to learn Hindi to prevent loosing business from IT people. People here are loyal to either DMK or AIADMK. Politically stable and slightly economic compared to other cities. More temples and religious places than other two cities, but not many places of tourist interest as such.
canal 
Pros:

1. Cheapest Petrol
2. Only city out of three with Beach and Sea
3. Share Autos available
4. Cheapest Bus fares [2011 update: new fares are almost at par with Bangalore]
5. Local Trains
6. Accessible via Sea, Air and Rail
7. Out of all 3 cities under considerations, Chennai is the only one in Metropolitan Category (Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkatta are other 3 such cities). This means your company allowances for food and stay etc will be maximum for this city.
8. Preferred of late by major manufacturing Companies (Dell, Motorola, Nokia, BMW, Hyundai, Nissan, Ford etc) for their production units. (More employment opportunities)
9. Stable government and less red tape
10. (NEW) Volvo City buses
11. Presence of US Consulate (and many more consulates)
12. Very good number of trekking spots and mountain ranges within 100-200 kms range. [Read travelogues: Yelagiri * Talakona * Tada Hills * Parvathamalai, Nagari, Nagalapuram ]


Cons:
1. Language barrier for North Indians. No Hindi speaking people and signboards
2. City Buses are extremely aged, overcrowded and unclean (Some new buses, including Volvo are introduced recently, but most of the scrap buses still rule the road)
3. Hotel Stay bit expensive dues to 25% luxury tax
4. Hot atmosphere and humidity
5. Meals cost relatively high
6. Least number of weekend spots/picnic places

7. Not enough gardens...Beach is the best and only place for walk...
8. Both Hyderabad and Bangalore have two airports now, while chennai has only one...Not a major shortfall but having second airport helps...
9. Toll roads right inside city-additional expense if commuting on OMR...

City Name: Hyderabad [ Go to TOP]

The city appears to be strong enough to absorb the impact of IT boom and expand itself rapidly. Living here will not be a problem. Similar to Bangalore in operational aspects. Famous for Biriyanies and hasn’t changed much in past one year.
Golconda FortPros:
1. Widest Roads and minimum traffic jams (except a few regular traffic jam spots)
City with lots of rocks- Maximum driving pleasure for adventure seeking persons as the roads include lots of ups and downs and turns giving a sporty feeling
2. Liberal traffic police-You can see vehicles of all states (Registered in states other than AP) driving comfortably in Hyderabad.
3. Metro Trains
4. Magazines and movies of all languages available
5. Share auto facility available
6. Maximum number of tourist destinations/picnic spots around the city
7. Hyd has been just categorized as A-1 city (Higher HRA and CCA for govt employees in this city)
8. Legendary Biryani...

Cons:
1. //deleted
2. Food is too spicy, not liked by many
3. Land prices soaring due to IT boom.
4. Urdu influenced Hindi accent

5. Max number of bomb blasts (compared to other 2 cities)
6. Extra cess on petrol and cars planned.

Related: Durgam Cheruvu*Anantagiri Hills *Golconda Fort* Ramoji Film City *

Go to TOP

Also Read: Hyderabad Bangalore by Bus-Comparison of operators* Chennai Mysore self drive experience

International:Singapore  * Chile Posts Digest * Malaysian Posts Digest Srilanka Posts Digest*

Do we need unions in IT Cos?

Some political parties are desperately trying to push the concept of labor unions into IT and ITES companies.

Do we need these politically motivated unions in our offices? This post is an attempt to analyze.

Traditionally, unions came into existence to unite workers who were constantly exploited by their employers. The workers were paid very low wages, had to operate in poor operational environments and were denied several benefits they genuinely deserved. The concept of unions gave these workers a platform to raise their voice, demand justice (sometimes blackmail) and get better returns for their efforts. This was when the demand for manpower was much less than the supply.

But over the period of time, the primary purposes of the need for a union were sidelined and unions became politically motivated. So called union leaders started to use the strength of the union for their personal gains/political ambitions.

Currently, the exponential growth of IT industry has made few to think that there should be unions in these companies.

In my opinion, there’s no need for unions in IT companies as all the reasons why one may need an union are already taken care of, eliminating any need for a formal union.

Listing below all the advantages of having a union and how these advantages are already available with IT employees.

Getting more salary: IT employees are already paid highest compared to other industry. Having a union will not increase the salary, and salary will not go down if there’re no unions

A platform to address workers concerns: Due to huge manpower shortage, IT companies have a compulsion to address workers concerns. They have dedicated HR departments, employees have internal forums and external communities (say in orkut) where they can raise a concern, discuss with their colleagues and get a solution. Huge demand for talent ensures that an employee has a freedom to find a better opportunity elsewhere than say keep complaining about current employer. Having a formal union will only add another management layer and will not make things any better. Further companies have various escalation points and SLA governed mechanisms to get most of the work done.

Workspace conditions: In most of the IT and ITES companies infrastructure is at its best and there’re not too many things one may go on complaining about the facilities and conditions at their office

Work related benefits: Its true that IT employees are often asked to work late night and weekend, but that’s more of industry norm. Putting more people doesn’t ensure that a project will end soon. There’re time when employees spend on bench doing nothing but still get paid. So stretching sometimes is necessary to ensure customer satisfaction and business continuity. By and large employees get extra benefit for this in one form or another.

Its very much true that sometimes IT employees also become victim of management’s cost cutting strategies. But that’s understandable. To stay profitable operating costs have to be brought down. If someone is denied certain benefits, it would be better strategy to command these, instead of demanding or complaining.

Having a formal union will be an unnecessary overhead and induce an additional layer of management. Politically motivated agendas will eventually take over the general interest of company and its employees.

So I feel there’s no need for Unions in IT and ITES industries as long as talent supply is less than demand.

What do you think on all these? Please post your comments.


Thanks for reading. Similar posts on people management and work related matters:
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