Monday, December 15, 2008

Chennai Test - India vs England 2008

At the end of third day's play with England leading by 247 runs having lost only 3 wickets in 2nd innings, I was looking forward to the 2nd test at Mohali for India to win the match and save the series. But Indian Coach Gary Kirsten believed India can chase any target. And now India did actually pull off an incredible win chasing a record 387 runs to win in the 4th innings.
Test cricket is still relevant even in India
In the first day England were scoring at 2.5 runs per over and lost only one wicket till tea. It was so sleep inducing and everybody questioned the relevance of Test cricket in India. But at the end of 4th day many people would have spent a sleepless night. Rajesh Jain has written in his blog wrote "A T20 or a one-day international doesn’t lend itself to analysis on the possibilities the way a Test Match does". A Test cricket lover beautifully summed up in a mail to cricinfo saying, "Test Cricket has survived 2 World wars, One day cricket and now T20 cricket over last 133 years and will continue to do so".
History didn't repeat but was created
When India started its run chase, the statisticians would have said India doesn't have any chance of winning the match. As the highest successful 4th innings chase in India was 276-5 by West Indies and in Chennai it was 155-8. (Chase of 347 is not considered successful as it was in a Tied Test) Thankfully Sehwag and Co. doesn't believe in history or even know it. He creates history for others to know.
It is all in the mind
To chase runs of that proportion batting last on a wearing pitch, one needs to believe that it is possible and then work on it. Win it in the mind first, then on the field. Captains of earlier generation like Kumble or Dravid would have said "Let’s try and keep wickets in hand, ensure safety and then look for victory if possible". The first test between the same 2 teams in the previous series at Nagpur in 2006 followed the same pattern. The same negativity was evident in Oval and Bangalore too and we drew the match that should have been won. This generation of captains like Dhoni and Sehwag (Vice-Captian) realise that in the process of safety first approach, the batsmen can get bogged down allowing bowlers to attack and create more chances of getting out. That was the reason for some of the 4th innings collapses in Mumbai, Bangalore, Sydney, Durban and so on.
What this victory means to India and run chase means to Cricket
Laxman's sublime 281 at Calcutta in 2001 to help India win after following on has made the concept of enforcing follow-on outdated. Very few captains in world cricket have enforced follow-on even after having a lead of 300 since that time. It also helped India believe that they can come back from any situation. India was all but dead and buried, trailing 0-1 in a 3 match series and trailing by 274 in the first innings then and went on to win the match and series 2-1. With this 4th highest run chase in history that too losing only 4 wickets, captains will always be jittery to set a target of less than 400 runs. And this victory reinforces the Indian belief of winning from any situation.
Sehwag - Man of the Match
I think it was a very sensible decision to give man of the match to Sehwag, though there were 4 centuries from others in the match. He didn't do anything with the ball or in the 1st innings. Statistics measure only the centuries and the number of runs scored, but never the impact it has had on the game. England the team that dominated the Test scored 2 boundaries between lunch and tea on 4th day, Sehwag scored 5 of them in his 15 balls. He used the hardness of new ball well and changed the course of the game in a very short span of time i.e. 68 balls in a test match of 2416 balls.
Sachin, does he have anything left to achieve?
It was a perfect match for Sachin. He scored his 100, hit the winning runs and avenged the loss to Pakistan at the same ground 9 years ago. This incidentally is the 50th time he is part of winning side. The biggest criticism that he doesn't play well when India needs the most in the 4th innings is answered. There aren't any records left to break, he is walking on the path never travelled by anybody, 41 centuries and 12000+ runs. I would like to see him sign-off by winning the world cup for India in 2011 and Test Series in Australia in 2012.
Yuvraj as a Test cricketer
He hit his purple patch in one-day series and was an automatic choice to take Ganguly's place in test side. His 2nd innings knock will indeed seal his spot for the next few tests. But I am still to be convinced of his test credentials. He can be easily intimidated by opposition players’ chit chatting and bouncers. Worst of all he reacts to them with words and stares instead of responding with the bat. This is something he can learn from his legendary senior colleagues. None of the opposition players do the same with Sachin, Dravid, Laxman or Kumble as it would have no effect on them and also out of sheer respect for them. Sachin's presence at the other end did help him, he looked like sincerely following Sachin's advices but wasn't paying that much heed to Dhoni's tips in the 1st innings.
I savoured the winning moment at my friend Tarun's house for last 75 runs. It has been a lucky place for me to watch cricket. I watched India win tests this year at Perth, Kanpur, Galle, Mohali, Nagpur and now Chennai. I also saw India winning the ODI at Sydney and U-19 world cup at Malaysia on the same day.
MS Dhoni with 4 wins out of 4 matches makes me think, Is this best Indian team ever? The question will be answered when they go abroad. ICC Test Rank No 2 and later No 1 are also up for grabs.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Notebook to Netbook

My present HP notebook bought 14 months back costed me 45,000 Rs, weighs 3 kgs, runs Windows Vista(TM), boots in 4 minutes, shutsdown in 90 seconds, uses 65% of 1GB RAM without me running a singe application.
For my usage that is mainly entertainment, I surely don't have to incur so much of cost. The cost is not just the price I pay but also the weight I carry, the speed (or lack of it) that I put up with. I think I can reduce the costs in the following ways.
  1. Replace Windows Vista with Ubuntu Linux - Vista Home Premium costs around 7000 Rs, uses atleast 12 GB Hard disk space, uses atleast 500 MB of RAM, wants to confirm every time if I am sure I want to run an application program. Opening a folder with 40 files takes a noticeable amount of time not to mention the boot and shutdown time. Solution is to customize the free and open source Linux to include only those modules that I need. I tried doing that but couldn't get the Display driver and Wireless Network driver.
  2. Use Online Productivity suite instead of Desktop Office Softwares - Whole MS Office Professional bundle costs 25,000 Rs, though minimal student ones are available for 8000 Rs. It takes around 1 GB disk space, each program like word or excel uses 50-100 MB RAM space depending on file size. Significant amount of time too is required to open a file. Free alternatives like OpenOffice and StarOffice don't give much respite either. Online office suites like Google Docs, Zoho move the computing from the PC to their servers freeing up the resources at the PC end. Inherently online office is the best way to share and collaborate. The documents can be accessed from anywhere and edited on any OS and Browser. Any updates in Desktop softwares have to be done by applying a patch or reinstalling, while in online it can be done continuously and without intervention of the user.
  3. Install Basic Softwares - Have basic softwares to only read pdf, xls, doc, ppt files. Simple mp3 player, video player and photo viewer. This is to do something when I am not connected to internet.
  4. Remove Anti Virus - It is one of the most annoying softwares. It will add 30 seconds to the boot time, runs in the background, pops every now and then and ask you to register, update, scan and restart. Thanks to the security provided by Internet Explorer and Windows, Anti Virus has become a necessity. I will not need it anymore.
  5. Change from Hard Disk to Flash - NAND Flash is almost as fast a RAM in read, so I can imagine opening a file from it. It has no moving or rotating parts like Hard Disk that's why it is called Solid State Disk. Power Consumption is one tenth of Hard Disk. Weight and space is vastly reduced. With bloated OS and softwares gone, the space requirement is also reduced and a 32 GB Flash Drive should be good to keep even photos, music and videos. If one likes to keep lot of data like movies then an external Hard Drive should be good.
  6. Have an external CD/DVD - This again has moving parts and removing it reduces lot of space and sheds weight. I don't use CDs and DVDs that often and if I do require I can use an external one.
  7. Reduce the screen size from 15.4" to 12" - This will make it more portable without compromising on the display effectiveness. Power will also be saved.
  8. Remove some of the connection slots - Slots for Memory Card Readers, PCMCIA, Serial Ports, Parallel Ports, 1394-firewire, PS2 ports etc are not required. If required, one can always buy those converters for 150 odd rupees. This does away with having the necessary controllers, drivers and hence cost. I only need 4 USB slots, 1 network slot, audio output, voice input and Wireless Network capability.
Having simplified so much, the RAM of 512 MB and 1 GHz processor should suffice. And yet I can get desired performance of 30 seconds boot time, 15 seconds shutdown, fast enough run time performance and increased battery life. The price can be brought down to 10,000 Rs and weight down to 1 kg. The basic requirement is a decent broadband connection.
What I have actually done is to reduce a notebook to something more simpler but optimized for internet usage which is called Netbook. ASUS Eee PC is the pioneer and leader in this market. Nova netPC is the brainchild of Rajesh Jain for Indian market.
Personal computer market growth started with Desktops. Now the baton is passed to Laptops or notebooks. Following the trend of more compact, simpler and affordable PCs, I believe the next growth will come from Netbooks.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

India regains Border Gavaskar Trophy

India regains Border Gavaskar Trophy at Nagpur where they lost it exactly 4 years back. With this we have shown that we are not only equals to Australia but even better than them.

Statistical Highlights

  • India has held the trophy 5 times while Australia held it 3 times.
  • Out of 26 matches, 15 in India and 11 in Australia, India has won 10, lost 10 and drew 6 times. Only Rahul Dravid has played in all 26 of those matches from either side.
  • Sachin has now played in 49 of the matches which India has won. He has a chance to win his 50th match at his home ground in Mumbai when India plays England in 2nd test.
  • Australia is losing a series for the first time since Ashes 2005. India is winning more than 1 test in a series for the first time since home series against Sri Lanka in 2005.
  • After nadir at Sydney and things looking only worse, India has not lost any of the last 6 encounters against them. Till Sydney, Ricky Ponting as captain had a 31-3 win-loss record including 16 successive wins. Since then they won 2 against West Indies and lost 3 to India.

My predictions

My prediction of a 2-1 defeat has gone horribly wrong. I had predicted a 2-0 loss to England too last year. I am glad that they were wrong. I generally make a pessimistic guess, so that I will have something to cheer about even when India loses. I realise that this approach will not take me long and I need to be lot more realistic and accountable with my predictions.

This proves my strength in accounting about the past through statistics and weakness about predicting the future. Statistics requires just good memory power and regular following. Prediction involves a lot more skill and understanding of the game. Even in Business, Managers are paid to plan and control the future while accountants are paid a pittance to document the past.

My emotions during the series

Indians were dominant throughout the series and I am witnessing this for the first time since 1998 series in India. The matches were quite high scoring and didn't make it as interesting as earlier series. 2003-04 series in Australia was also high scoring but still it was lot more interesting owing to the see-saw contests. Overall, there weren't so many thrilling rides over the series. One moment which did provide some thrills was the 4th day afternoon of the 4th test.

Anil Kumble and Saurav Ganguly have retired. Both of them have done their jobs and have taken Indian cricket to a higher level. It was time for them to go. It is time for even Rahul Dravid to go. His last great contribution came 2.5 years ago with twin fifties in the Jamica Test. India are now at a stage where those legends will not be missed so badly.


After the series Australia has come down from 138 points to 129 points and India has gone up from 109 to 116 to reach second spot in the Test Rankings. There is a lot of cricket coming up over the next one year for Australia, India and South Africa. With the difference of only 13 points there is a good 3 ways battle for the ultimate number one spot. Australian domination will be questioned for the first time since they won in West Indies in 1995. Over the last few years we have only seen fight for No 2 spot between India, England and South Africa and all of them held the position for a brief period of time.

In the present situation, India is favourites to become No. 1.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Border Gavaskar Trophy 2008 in India

This is easily the most competitive series in Cricket ever since it started in 1996. That is all the more fascinating considering that one is undisputedly the best team and other is unpredictable and plays its best agaisnt the best. In the table below I compare a few of the most important series in cricket.

(Only matches since 1996 are considered)
Clearly, Border Gavaskar Trophy is right up there interms of results percentage and competitiveness i.e. Win/Loss Ratio. Ashes but for 2005 has been extremely one-sided. Last 2 India-Pakistan Series was very boring.
Fabulous Five
The hype for the Series starting today is not just about the recent rivalry between the Teams. It is also about the Individual players. From India it is the aging Fabulous Five of Sachin, Kumble, Dravid, Ganguly and Laxman. Their cricket playing career very much conincided with my viewing career. And it will be very hard for me to see an Indian Team taking field in a Test Match without any of them. They are the best not just because of their envious career records but also because of their contribution in India's fight against the World Champions.

The table shows a very surprising statistic. One would normally expect a Team to win most of its matches against weaker teams and lose against stronger teams. But with Indian Team it is different. All the members of the Fab 5 have defeated Australia the most, next being the weakest teams like SriLanka and Zimbabwe. Kumble is an exception because he missed the 2001 series.
Advantage India
Coming into this series Indian team looks to have advantage on paper.
  1. Home advantage. But if we look at the things media is focussing on at the moment, it actually is a disadvantage
  2. Best players with loads of experience and talent are playing. They are all fit, haven't retired yet, haven't gone fishing either!
  3. Balanced Batting and Bowling. Sehwag opening and Big 4 in the middle order. Dhoni Keeping. Good variety in bowling with a leg spinner, off spinner, left arm medium and tall right arm fast bowler.
  4. Only 4 Australians have played a Test in India earlier and none of the bowlers have bowled a ball in India. Ponting's glittering career has a huge dark spot in India especially against Harbhajan
To win series
There are more important factors that decide the winners than the ones mentioned above.
  1. Having a detailed plan for each of the players and situations. Assigning and assuming the roles according to the plan and executing them.
  2. Being desperate and focussed only on winning the series. Showing fight and intensity in the field for all the 5 days of the Test.
  3. Patience, Playing positively, taking the chances (catches) offered, taking singles and not letting slip a winning situation.
  4. Again focussing on the big picture i.e. the series without getting distracted with Individual miles stones. Ganguly is playing is last series, Sachin is closing on Lara's world record and 12,000 runs, Laxman closing in on 100 Tests, Kumble and possibly Dravid playing his last test at their Home ground Bengaluru.
All matches will have results unless more than 2 days are lost due to rain. A couple of matches will also be very close. I would say Australia will retain the Border Gavaskar Trophy by winning the series 2-1.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Sony Cybershot DSC-H50 - How I went about buying it?

What is my need for a new camera?
The Nikon Coolpix S1 camera at home is not working. So, I will give my big LCD Sanyo Xacti E6 to them. While I will go for an upgrade. The ideal upgrade would be an SLR. But considering the cost (40K+), amount of manual operation and maintenance required, I thought I should go for something lower than that. So, I thought I should go for one in the prosumer category.
My requirements are
1. Good Optical Zoom 10x+. When I shot the moon at night using 3x zoom, it appeared just like a white dot.. It also helps to take some good people's photo from a distance without their notice ;-)
2. Large LCD screen. I am used to 3 inch screen in my earlier camera. It indeed was a useful luxury. And it will be difficult to go below it.
3. 4 Mega Pixel is more than enough for me. And even the most basic models and Mobile Phones have more than 4MP.
4. Video is necessary but an average quality 640x480 would do.
5. Brand should be within the top 3 brands in India. Japanese makers seem to be leaders in this market with marquee names like Sony, Canon, Nikon, Panasonic, Olympus, Kodak and Fuji.

Recruitment and Selection
Checked at a few sites and Multi Brand Outlets (MBO) to get a hang of a few cameras in prosumer category. Only Sony and Canon seemed to be well distributed. So had to decide between the 4 models.
1. Canon Powershot S5IS
2. Canon Powershot SX100IS
3. Sony Cybershot H50
4. Sony Cybershot H10
The Sony versions were superior to Canon's w.r.t LCD (3 vs 2.5 inch) and Lens (Sony has Carl Zeiss lens). Sony was priced slightly lower and their models were released later (April 2008) than Canon's(2007). But Canon did well w.r.t the screen, it could be rotated.
Between H50 and H10, H50 looked much better (15x vs 10x zoom) at not much difference in price (20K vs 16K). So, I finally decided on Sony Cybershot DSC-H50 model.

Where to buy?
Two options here too.
1. SonyWorld and Sony India authorized outlets.
2. Online shopping portals like ebay, indiaplaza and rediff.

 - Online had only 1 year warranty while Sony India has for 3 years.
 - Online companies source it from other countries like China, Taiwan, Malaysia at a cheaper price and sell it here.
 - When I contacted Sony (call centre), they said - Only ones from Sony India and sold by Sony Authorised dealers are approved. Sony India does not have or approve online channels.
 - 1GB Memory Stick free when bought offline. Non-Sony memory sticks are available in eBay at half or third the price of that of Sony Memory Sticks. But Sony India doesn't recommend using them. Obviously ;-)
 - Online portals were selling at about 15% discount i.e. 3000 Rs lesser price.
Still, I am not too sure about buying such high value items online in India. They may say, I can send it back if I am not satisfied but who has time to go through the procedures of sending back and getting a new one. so, I decided to buy from Sony India recommended channel!

Buying Experience
I visited one of the nearby Sony Authorised Dealer and this is what he had to say about Sony
 - Sony has been there in India for last 25 years and it is still the same customer centric company as it was.
 - I asked if there will be any promotion offers for Diwali. He showed me a case of 75,000 Rs LCD TV that gave just Casino Royale film CD free as a Diwali Offer. Such a small offer. Now that talks about Sony's Brand Equity. The Brand that is adored by its consumers need not come up with discounts to appeal to them. They appeal through their product, service and brand image throughout the year for so many years, so why anything special for Diwali alone?
 - No shop is allowed to give away any discounts below the MRP. Meaning all customers are same and the product is really worth the price. Even Apple doesn't give discounts on its products.
 - After I buy, within 2 days a company person will come to my residence and give me a demonstration of usage. How many companies care for their customers after the sale is made? Similarly in case of any problems later, just call them and within 24 hours they will be at my doorstep. Dell does this though.

Well, I haven't said anything about the Camera itself. I don't yet have the camera yet. I will get it tomorrow. There are enough professional reviews available in tech2, mouthshut, steve-digicamsetc. Looking forward to get the camera tomorrow, get the demonstration day after tomorrow and click some great photographs with it later.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Google Chrome - A New Web Browser

This morning I got the news of launch of a new web browser "Chrome" from Google in its official blog. Since then I have been frantically trying to download the software. I could finally do it at 12 at midnight. I am a huge fan of Google. It is one company that seems to do everything right in this Internet era. Being a leader in Web applications, it was only time before it moved into the platform where they are run i.e. the web browser.

User experience
What I like about all Google products is their simplicity. They have done away with Menu Bar, Tab Bar, Search Bar and a bar at bottom that exists in Firefox. This gives them additional vertical space equivalent to 3 bars to display webpage. Chrome has also done well in being a very fast software. It responds to events faster than other browsers I have used. Perform actions like page scroll, opening and closing tabs, typing text and so on, one will realise how fast it is. Javascripts are made to run the fastest. Sridhar Vembu of lauds this fact in his blog. All this doesnot come free, it uses more resources to do it. Opening each tab spawns a new process. Creating separate process has a advantage. Suppose opening a webpage fails and hangs the software, only the tab that opened the webpage is affected. Not others as in Firefox because it opens all tabs under same process. It is not common to find a webpage hanging the browser, open any unproffesionally written Indian website.

Browser's Growing Importance
After booting the OS, the browser is the first software that I run on my computer. Cloud Computing has enabled all computations and storage online i.e. at server end. Be it Office Application, Email, Music, Video, Photos, Games, etc. No hassles of maintaining files on local computer, updating and maitaining large resource intensive softwares. Anything can be accessed from anywhere. All they need is a web browser and internet connection. A thin client or dumb terminal can replace our sophisticated PC. With this web browser has become the most important software. That's why we are seeing a major browser war today.

Competetive Landscape

Source - Net Applications

Internet Explorer - Microsoft just launched IE 8. IE will continue to exist and be a leader for another 5 years atleast. The users of IE are Windows users who are not aware of Firefox and use it because it came by default with their PC. They don't realise that there are faster alternatives, don't understand that a poor browser can be a security loop hole, are not interested in trying something different.

Mozilla Firefox - Mozilla is adding almost 1% to its market share every month. The firefox 3 launch was spectacular with 8 million downloads spending hardly any advertising money. It earns money from Google itself by placing google as default search engine in its search bar. But remember Mozilla is a Free Software Foundation and is not dependent on Google's money for its survival. Mozilla has its strength in its developer network, the vast reach it already has, 3000+ free addons.

Google Chrome - Google has made it open source, in the same lines of Firefox, used the modules from firefox itself. Google's contract with Mozilla extends for another 3 years. I hope they work together to create 2 complementary browsers to give a good choice to the users. Any internet user in this world uses or Given its reach and brand image it is easy for Google to promote Chrome to its users. Simple value proposition could be "Use Chrome to work with our applications better".

With the launch of Chrome, I think Chrome will grow at the cost of Firefox. Because to use Firefox or Chrome, the user needs to take extra effort to download and use them. Both of them are similar. Here the user now has a choice between Firefox and Chrome while earlier it was only Firefox. But together they will fight IE.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Top Search Engines

I will be researching on the top 5 web service brands.on categories like Search Engines, Web Browsers, Web servers, email, social networking, blogging tools, rss reader, e-commerce and so on. It will only be a secondary research and the purposes are
  1. Being an avid internet user, who spends more than 8 hours everyday on internet, I better know what I am using and what to use.
  2. Learn the internet analysis tools like,, and
  3. When I become an online marketer, I need to know where my target audience are and how to target them.
  4. Internet is an industry that has low entry barrier and a behemoth can be toppled overnight. So, it will be interesting to look back upon this research report 5 years later and laugh at it when things have changed completely. Remember netscape and altavista?
Starting off with Search Engines. Guessing the leader and follower is a no-brainer. It is Google and Yahoo respectively. I like Yahoo! over Google because of one particular point. That is, my blog comes 5th in Yahoo but only 33rd in Google in the search list for word "keshavaram". For academic purpose, the table below shows the Search Engines and its usage
Ref - Most popular search engines worldwide, Dec. 2007, comScore
The above results have tremendous implications to both internet marketers users. The users know where to get relevant search results from. The marketers know where to concentrate their SEO and SEM efforts. The focus of top search engines have always been on satisfying the user. If the user likes a website the site will come up first irrespective of how much another site pays. The search engine there by pleases the user at the cost of increased short term revenues.

A comprehensive analysis and comparison of Search Engines in in this link.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Affect of Rupee appreciation on Indian IT Companies

Yesterday we had a guest lecture by Kaushal, Senior BDM at Satyam on the "Effects of Rupee appreciation on Indian IT companies". It was optional to attend that lecture, still I attended it because the topic interested me. I have been tracking this Industry since my B-School preparation days late 2006. So, I felt I knew everything he had to say. Still it is worth documenting them.

Firstly he clarified that it was not just Rupee appreciating but more of dollar depreciating. Indian companies need to worry about this because for top companies like TCS, Infosys, Wipro, Satyam and HCL, 60% of the revenues are from US that are earned in dollars. Remaining are from Europe and Asia Pacific with different mix for different companies.

He analyzed the effects in 4 perspectives
It has been observed that every 1% appreciation of Rupee against the Dollar resulted in 0.5% drop in Net profits of IT companies. I asked the speaker, "Why is the drop not 1% but only 0.5%?", he said that companies are going to just watch the dollar sliding, they will do something about it to minimize its effects.

Income statements in US GAAP and Indian GAAP don't tell the shareholders in US and India the same story. When Rupee appreciates, same business from US will show lesser value in Indian accounts. On the other hand, same non-US business done will show higher value in US accounts.
E.g When $10 million of sales in US will show Rs. 48 crore in the 1st year when $1 is Rs48, the same $10 million business will show Rs. 40 crore when $1 is only Rs. 40 next year. Indian investors see the drop when the US investors don't see it.
Similarly, domestic business of Rs. 48 crore raises from $10 million to $12 million when dollar drops from Rs 48 to Rs 40. Now American Investors cheer on 20% growth in $ terms while Indian investors have nothing to cheer.

80% of costs of Indian IT companies are the direct salary cost. This is understandable in a knowledge based industry where people are the assets and there are not much of fixed assets as such. So any raise in salaries will hit the company's bottom line seriously. Salaries have been increasing at 15-20% YoY.
Higher Attrition rate increases the cost of Hiring and Training the new employees.

Business Model
The Business model so far had been offshoring and outsourcing or simply arbitrage of labour. Low value back office work like coding, testing and maintenance are outsourced to third world countries where labour is cheap, while the US keeps with them the high end work like products, consulting, design, strategy, Research and development. This model creates value to both the parties, one gets work done at a lesser cost and other party gets a lucrative Business opportunity. He said the fathers of Indian IT Industries were not risk takers or innovators, they plainly worked on the basis of cost difference between US and Indian labour.

Effect of competition should be compared between the Local peers like Infy, TCS, Wipro and HCL and Global Peers like IBM, Accenture, Cap Gemini and HP. It is obviously affecting the local peers in the same way as all of them have same Business Model and similar revenue mix in terms of geographies. But even the global peers have large operations in India with the same Business Model and hence their Indian Business will suffer the same fate. Suddenly their home Business becomes 10% more attractive compared to that it was earlier to Rupee appreciation.

The big Tier 1 companies have the financial muscle to bear the rupee appreciation, but the smaller companies have to really suffer.

The solutions that are taken by the IT companies to counter the threats are
1) Negotiate with clients on higher billing. This is not easy though. It depends on host of factors. If the job being carried out is a low end one, then it can easily be transferred to another company by the customer. If it is high end job, lot of dependency has been created and customer has made enough investment in the offshore center then switching to another vendor becomes costly and difficult. He will then as well pay the existing vendor 10% more than looking at new vendor
2) Add Escalation clauses into the contract saying if the salary increases or the rupee depreciates the billing rate will be adjusted. That is the billing rate will depend on the movement of a certain index.
3) Quote higher rates for new Businesses if the existing contracts cannot be changed. If the vendor is strong enough this can be done and it need not worry about the competitors

1) Hire locals - If the client is located in China, instead of hiring people from India to do the work in India, have a development centre in China itself hiring local talent. He would be better able to communicate and understand the customers. Also he has become 10% cheaper than he was earlier.
2) Improve Utilization - Freshers were hired in masses to fulfill the requirements for whole year and they were trained only to bench them later. This is a colossal loss to the company. They can instead ask them to join in batches. Since the lead time for recruitment of a candidate is long, companies are forced to hire early and keep them on bench. The transfer of people across project taking longer time reduces the utilization rate. This needs to be seriously worked out and improved to save costs.
3) Reduce operating costs - Lots of money is wasted on stationary items, print-outs, parties and other luxuries. When the times are not as good as it was, these operational expenses needs to be controlled.
4) Reduce Salaries and Hikes - How long can the industry sustain with 20% rise in salaries? Act of luring employees from other companies and industries by simply paying higher pay packages needs to be reconsidered. Reduce the salaries, others in the industry will follow you in these difficult times.
5) Expand operations to Tier II and Tier III cities where lots of hidden talents are available. They come cheaper but need to be trained. They will stick longer with the company. Company in the process will add lot of value to lives of those people and the economy of the city.
6) Most of the jobs done in the IT companies don't need Engineers to do them, why not hire B.Scs and B.Coms. They could very well do the job without cribbing at a lower cost.
7) Reduce Training costs by tying up with Educational institutes to pass out industry ready employable products. This shifts the costs from the Company to the educational institution. such programs are called Campus2Corporate.

1) Move up the value chain into consulting, product development, Research and innovation. This is easier said than done. It involves much more risks. Israel being such a small country generates more revenues than Indian in IT through their products.
2) Get into Newer Segments with Latest offerings
3) Focus on non-US markets like EU and APAC. I would say more importantly domestic markets especially SMEs. They are the fastest growing markets which are fed by MNCs operating in India while Indian companies are busy serving overseas markets.

Business Model
1) Forward cover for dollar - Hedge for dollar against Rupee so that any fluctuations does not have adverse impact on Profits. Infosys tried doing this and lost to the tune of 100 crore rupees when Dollar appreciates.
2) Relocate Development centres - This may save cost for the time being but strategically we are actually developing talent in competitor countries and help them fight us.
3) Pressurize government to give export incentives. IT companies have been pushing NASSCOM to continue Tax holidays beyond 2009 when it ends. But there has been no extension as per this Budget.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Free News Papers - Any takers?

Being in a B-School has a few (but not many) advantages. One of them is that you get pretty cheap Newspaper and Magazine subscription offers. One such offer that we got yesterday was for The Hindu Business Line. Rs.180 for 6 months which works out to 1 Re per day. When I used to subscribe before MBA it used to be at an average of 4 Rs per day. So when they can give 4 Rs paper for 1 Re, I thought why can't they distribute it for Free?

It isn't that bad an idea as it looks like though.
1) Anyway the Newspaper publishers earn majority of their revenue from the advertisers and not through sale of News papers.
2) Other Media Businesses like TV, Internet and Radio distribute content to users for free.
3) They can attract a large number of readers or at least buyers or takers by giving it for free.

Still it is a pretty bad idea. Otherwise it would have been already implemented.
1) In TV, Internet and Radio the distribution cost to each user is almost zero. Charging the users will only drive them away. In Newspapers and Magazines it is different. Printing each Newspaper and distributing it is costly and there is cost involved for each user.
2) If it is given for free. Everybody will start subscribing, whether they read it or not. So how many copies to print? far too many.
3) On what basis will advertisers know to how many audience are their advertisements reaching? Not straight forward. A separate survey needs to be conducted to find out how many people actually read them. So this will not be a favorite channel for advertisers. You don't collect money from readers and now you have driven the advertisers away. With both the revenue channels being closed, giving News papers for free makes sense only for charity purpose.
4) To make a print that many number of copies a large number of trees need to be cut. So much of paper waste is generated. Distribution becomes a massive exercise. So it doesn't make sense even for charity purposes.
5) When you charge a price that is higher you are conveying the advertisers that users don't mind paying that price to read the content. Or the users are savvy.

I tried to find numbers on the share of advertising revenues and sales revenue of the total revenue generated and expenditure details on printing, distribution, staff and so on. But there are hardly any listed News Paper company to give those details. Now the next question is why aren't News Paper companies not Public?

Sunday, February 10, 2008

I don't understand Real Estate Business

Sample this - I buy a flat near say ITPB, Bengaluru for 50 lakhs. I rent it out for 20 thousand per month to a family. Then my cash inflow per year is 2.4 lakhs after taking trouble to find the right area, house, broker, lender and tenant. Whereas if I keep the same 50 lakhs in a bank that pays 10% interest. My cash inflow per year is 5 lakhs without any problem. Ignoring the taxes in both the cases for the time being. Then why should anyone buy a house to rent it out?

One possible explanation could be that the value of the house appreciates. If I find the right house, it could probably appreciate by 20% per annum and double its value in 4 years. Then its fine if I have a job, the house is just an investment and I am not dependent on its cash flows. With this there are also risks involved such as 1) Fraud during buying or selling 2) Natural Calamities like Earth quake, flood, cyclone etc 3) Fire accident, destruction 4) Government acquiring it and 5) Property not appreciating its value.

But I don't think a Businessman who makes a living out of this would be happy with this model of getting (2.4 lakhs on 50 lakhs investment) 5% RoI. Also if he doesn't have 50 lakhs cash with him, he will have to borrow that amount at about 15% interest or 7.5 lakhs per annum. Making an annual loss of 5 lakhs.

I would rather have 1 Re now than 2 Rs 4 years from now. "Bird in hand is worth two in bush". Either people don't understand the concept of opportunity cost and time value of money or I am missing something very basic here.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Why are Air Deccan Tickets so cheap?

Yesterday while having dinner outside with my friend Praveen living next room, I just posed him a question. "What would your mission be as a Businessman?". He said "To make a difference in the lives of the people". I can safely assume that the difference would be positive ;-). He immediately also said, he doesn't believe in Wall Mart's "everyday low prices" concept. Because it only favors the customers by squeezing suppliers of all his margins. I argued saying they reduce prices by increasing the scale and supply chain efficiencies. The argument went on to the example of Indian low cost airlines Air Deccan.

One should really admire G.R. Gopinath and his Company Air Deccan for clearly understanding the middle class Indian Consumer. Their dramatic reduction of its ticket price to match train fares and connecting 64 destinations all across India has made an average Indian dream of flying in an airplane possible. When I myself traveled from Mumbai to Bangalore by this flight, I found the following reasons mentioned in their magazine on board.
1) No frills - No food provided on board. Though one can pay for it and get it. This directly reduces the cost of food per-say. The cost of carrying it to the air-craft, unloading, cleaning and so on. After who needs it when one travels for one to two hours in flight.
2) Fewer cabin-crew members - There are only 4 members other than passengers in the aircraft. Pilot, co-pilot and 2 air-hostesses. The salary costs are minimum now.
3) Simple seating arrangement - Nobody is assigned any seat numbers at all. Like in a city bus, whoever comes first can occupy a seat of his choice, could be window, aisle, front or back. There is no distinct Economy an Business Class seats. This simplifies the ticket booking system, no seat verification required.
4) Less time at airport - After landing, the Aircraft carriers will have to pay an amount proportional to the time parked at airport. Air Deccan minimizes this time by improved efficiencies.
5) Online Ticket Booking - By enabling booking all tickets only through their internet portal, they have avoided the costs of setting up Point of Sale offices at various locations, ticket printing costs, staff costs, rent, power and so on. Money flows electronically from customer's credit card and cash management is that much more easy.
6) Advertisements - Additional revenues are generated by having advertising spaces inside the air-craft.

As a customer, anybody would accept the above mentioned ideas when the costs are half of those of other carriers. But there are other unmentioned means by which they reduce costs
1) Over booking - Having said that, they have a simple uniform seating arrangement and nobody is assigned any particular seat numbers, this gives ample scope for over booking as well. They have survived many times with these tactics that somebody or the other don't turn up or come late and miss boarding. This way they have collected extra revenues. After all the ticket persey doesn't have a legal validity until the passenger gets his boarding pass. The passenger can be denied entry in spite of him having bought the ticket.
2) Poor Customer Service - When one calls the customer care call center, he may have to wait indefinitely before an executive attends his call. Man power is also hired cheap, so one can expect what quality of output to expect from them.
3) Delay and sudden flight cancellation - Flights don't always take-off on time. Worse still is that they even get canceled all of a sudden. I booked a flight from Bangalore to Trivandrum for my uncle 5 months in advance and it got canceled 3 days before the scheduled departure. He couldn't get seats on any day that whole week. Trains were also fully booked. So he had to take an expensive flight to Cochin and then go by road to Trivandrum.
4) Pilots are being stretched - Pilots need adequate rest after each flight and they are denied of this. Without rest he cannot guarantee 100% performance which is absolutely necessary. It is a question of passenger's life and safety. Short sighted managers oversee this for saving on cost.
The company in question and its idea has definitely not survived. It registered 219 crore loss for 3rd quarter. They doubled the prices from 1200 to 2500 for a Mumbai Mangalore flight. It has been taken over by Kingfischer. Some of its noble ideas are taken by other low cost carriers like Spice Jet.

Safe Travel, Convenience and Service are the 3 main ingredients of product called Air Travel and all 3 of them are compromised just for the sake of price. So, the message that we could derive is that "One needs to pay for quality". You can't expect best quality at cheapest cost. This point is obvious but the above mentioned 4 points weren't. So, Praveen as a Businessman would give his customers good product at right price.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

India perk up at Perth

Life is all about ups and downs, twists and turns. To me life is about cricket. If Sydney was the nadir, Perth certainly has to be the zenith. This is is not just an example of how things can go high and low but also how fast it can go. Best thing is that the victory is in the recent memory and will help a long way in forgetting the Sydney defeat. To put things into perspective, India couldn't bat the last 2 sessions at Sydney and lost the Test after loosing heavily at Melbourne. Scoreline read 2-0, with next Test at Perth. Perth is branded as having the bounciest Pitch in the world. Australia thought they could comfortably trouble India with their pace batteries of Shuan Tait and Brett Lee. Thanks to the acrimonious Sydney Test, it was not just Cricket that had to be handled, Harbhajan Singh's case, Brad Hogg's case, patch up meeting with Ponting but also decision on continuing the tour itself. Everybody(includes me) had written India off, Kumble was expected to return to India after the Test Series getting whitewashed 4-0. So, no ordinary human being or Team can get away from this situation unscathed let alone bouncing back to win it. Anil Kumble and his Indian Team has done exactly that. Beating Australia at Perth to end their 16 match winning streak 'yet again'. Also ending their 4 year unbeaten streak at home ground. Incedentally India beat them at Adelaide on 16th December 2003. Now the series is still alive, Australia leading 2-1 and India having a chance to draw it if they win the final test at Adelaide. Border-Gavaskar Trophy is already with Australia even if India manages to draw the series because they had snatched it from India in the previous series played in India in 2004 by winning 2-1.

Sunil Gavaskar has rated this Indian win as the best of wins he has seen or was part of India in the last 40 years. The beauty of this victory was that everybody contributed and it was perfect team effort. Teams do get united in the face of crisis. Not one batsmen scored a hundred, not one bowler took 5 wickets in an innings. It was all about partnerships Dravid-Tendulkar, Jaffer-Sehwag, Laxman-Dhoni and Laxman-RP Singh. Bowling-wise it was all contribution from rookies and not much from dependable Kumble. Pathan's spell with new ball to dismiss both openers on both the innings, Inshanth Sharma's hostile spell to Ricky Ponting, RP Singh's swing were the stand out performances. We can say India has not just defeated Australia but out-swung Australia. Dravid who was struggling overall ended up being the topscorer for the match. Laxman continued his love for Australian attack and scored his 1000th test run in Australia too.

I had vowed to not follow cricket again. But it is never easy to get rid of an decade old addiction in a few days. I gave it my best attempt by not checking the scorecard on internet for the first 3 days (of Perth Test). But my friends used to keep pricking me with score updates. Today afternoon, after completing our 2nd Trimister MBA Exams. People (other than me) got desperate to know the scores. Somebody said Australia are 7 down at Tea. What?I couldn't believe it. By the time I could digest the score and situation, Australia lost the last recognised batsmen Micheal Clarke soon after Tea Break. I could now sense an Indian win. So badly wanted to witness the winning moment live. Had lunch quickly and went with my classmate to his house. Australians by then made sure that I could watch something by the time I reached his house by surviving for about an hour as they call "delaying the inevitable". I reached his home expecting to see the post match ceremony. But what I could see was Australia needed just under 100 runs to win with 2 wickets still in hand, Stuart Clarke was comfortably piercing the wide spread out field set by Indians or Kumble. Fast bowlers were bowling short length with the new ball. Now I was tempted to curse Kumble on his captaincy, also lack of help from former captains like Dravid, Ganguly and Sachin. Indians were definitely panicking at that moment. But when you have played under 40 + degree celsius for the whole day and just one spinner to take up the work load. Also the mental pressure of being in an unusual situation of winning a Test in Australia. Out of tiredness, I must realise that the bowling length is bound to get shorter.

I must admire Kumble for the way he has carried himself overall. He made some good team changes by dropping distracted Yuvraj, bringing in Sehwag thereby restoring the batting order. He won the toss, took a brave decision to bat trusting his batsmen to face the new ball from the fastest bowlers on a fresh Perth Wicket. He got his 600th wicket too during the course of the match. But what is more admirable is what he has done between Sydney and Perth. He has proved that he is definitely one of the few Gentlemen cricket is left with. Despite being at the receiving end from Australians sledging and cheating, he dropped the charges on Bard Hogg. The whole world including Australia has taken notice when he said "Only one team played with the true spirit of the game" after loosing at Sydney. Because if it has come from a man of stature of Anil Kumble, it has to be true. Fresh from reading on Leadership for HR Exams today, I can say that Kumble has demonstrated the characteristics of a Great Leader. He took personal responsibility for the defeats, didn't blame anybody. But to lift the spirits of the team that had just been battered was truly inspirational. As the saying goes "Tough times do not last, but tough men do".

Saturday, January 12, 2008

How to advertise my blog or webpage?

I am still writing these blogs for myself and very few of my few close friends who share same thoughts as me. So I am not intending to advertise it. Not that as soon as I intend to advertise, it will become popular. Still, it is not bad to just explore as to how to advertise my blog.

If the target audience are friends, then blog can be advertised by
1) Adding it in my orkut and facebook profile. People (including me) do keenly visit the profiles of others in orkut. They go through the profile, photos and scrapbook carefully. To help them explore further my web/blog homepage would be a very useful link. So, this should advertise the blog to most of the target audience.
2) Adding a link with the signature of every outgoing email. People add Name, Designation, Phone Number and Address as email signatures. Adding blog as signature will remind the receiver of my blog every time he receives the message. Then there are good chances that he will open the link. This will even cater to audience who are not in orkut but use emails. Only those who access internet can read my blog and everybody who access internet do check their email.
3) Write comments on my friends' blogs. This will drive my friends who are regular viewers of my friend's blogs into my blog. Even better would be to request my blogging friends to add my blog's links in their "Blogs I read" list. This will target the friends who write and read blogs.

Having said all these, these tactics will only get them to view my blog only for the first time. Ultimately, blog is just an image of me. If my friends like me, they will like my blog. If I am popular my blog will be popular. If they like to listen to what I say orally, they will read what I have written. If I have more number of friends, I will have more number of viewers. Not vice-versa.

If the target audience are the people who are interested in the topics I write.
1) Leave comments on websites that are already popular on those topics. If my blog specializes in Test cricket, then commenting on Mukul Kesavan's blogs would be the best idea.
2) Be part of some user groups, keep posting questions and answers there. Example - If I am an MBA aspirant or an MBA grad, then posting in pagalguy would help. If I post on product reviews in my blog, they it will good to become a member of mouthshut, write a few reviews there.
3) List the blog to a popular blog directory under an appropriate category like blogpane. There will be enough idle people like me who hunt for blogs.
4) The highest level is to go for Search Engine Optimization (SEO), to simply put, get my blog listed in the first page of Search Engine results when users searches for certain keywords. I have heard of this jargon or concept recently and still figuring out how to do this.

These are again the ways to get users to visit the site first time. To keep them hooked on to my site, the originality and exclusivity of contents, frequency of postings and clear way of communication would be very important. Then I need not work on advertising my site, others will do it for me by "word of mouth" or e-equivalent of it.

Cricket is Dead

Look who is saying this! Yes it is me. Keshava Ram. One who has followed each and every Test Match India has played over a decade since Rahul Dravid made his Debut. Cricket should have been dead during the turn of new millennium itself, but I was immature to give importance to match-fixing then. Cricket has reborn since then and there has been no instance of match-fixing (atleast hasn't come to light) since then. The timing of the post should make it obvious that it is the Sydney Test I am referring to. Yes, not only that, many more reasons too.

Overdose - Too much is too bad! This cannot fit to cricket better. There is an overdose of matches. Too many one-day matches - matches at neutral venues, triangular tournaments, quadrangular tournaments, asia cup, super-series, ICC champions trophy and even long world cup (super 8 not 6). Advent of Twenty20 as an international format. It has just begun and already it is making so much of noise. Within few years, I am afraid it is surely going to be big enough to kill cricket completely. Cricket is going to converge into baseball. ICC has a 6 year future tour program within which period all teams play against every other team both home and away. 30 years back we had just 1 form of the game and 7 teams now we have 3 forms and more than 10 teams. Simple Permutation and Combination should suggest by what proportion the number of matches played have increased. A regular player spends 30% of the days or 100 days in a year playing just international cricket. Let alone domestic cricket, tour matches, charity matches, practice sessions and traveling. Spare a through to the players, they would also like to lead a normal life for a few days with their loved ones. Commercial interests are killing the hen called cricket that used to lay them golden eggs everyday.

Beyond Big 5 - This generation of Indian viewers are blessed with the Big 5. It is obvious who those big 5s are, still for the sake of completeness they are Sachin, Rahul, Sourav, Laxman and Anil in no particular order. All of them are around 35 and have only a couple of years at the maximum left for them. As of now there seem to be nobody to replace them. Likes of Yuvraj, Dhoni, Karthik, Sehwag, Gambhir and Uttappa may give us an odd T20 win but wouldn't challenge top teams over a sustained period. We don't seem to have any succession planning in place. With our present system, it is unlikely that we would be able to spot such prodigies let alone grooming players to become one of them. International players don't find time to play domestic matches, domestic matches are played anywhere but in Test Grounds. The pitches are anything but lively for fast bowlers. India 'A' tours aren't commercially viable and so there aren't many such tours happening. So, there is very little chance for future players to get exposure. And players who look promising in domestic level struggle when to come to international level as they find the level much higher.

Global Imbalance - The difference between the No. 1 team Australia and rest of the teams are getting wider. They won the 2007 world cup without any sweat. They whitewashed the No.2 team in the Ashes 5-0. They seem well on their way to whitewashing their toughest opponent of the Decade, India. We have England, India, South Africa and Pakistan alternatively claiming the No. 2 spot. New Zealand and West Indies have settled at No. 7 and No. 8 respectively. Unfortunately Zimbabwe and Bangladesh still play Test Cricket to keep the gap between top and bottom wide. Like India, the Teams vying for No. 2 spots have their share of problems. Srilanka won't have bowling resources to bowl oppositions twice after Murali. England struggle to keep their best players fit. Pakistan team is also struggling but their issues are highly complicated. Australians on the other hand are getting better and better. The replacements that they find perform better than their predecessors. Hussey for Bevan, Ponting for Steve Waugh, Stuart Clark for McGrath, Jacques for Langer and Gilchrist for Healy. Warne is the only person whom they wouldn't be able to replace. They have just won 16th successive Test match, only nature can stop that sequence.

Unwelcome changes proposed - The former greats are proposing some changes to even forms of games that aren't supposed to be changed. Boycott has said that Test Cricket is boring. Somebody shot-back saying who made it boring?, Pointing at Boycott who is known for his slow batting. The changes he likes to bring about are Day-night tests over 4 days instead of 5. Boycott just mentioned those changes probably when a journalist pestered him to suggest one. That is not the problem, actual problem is that Cricket Boards have taken his suggestions too seriously. And they are indeed planning to make those changes starting with Australian Domestic matches.

Anti-Asian - Asia has 4 strong teams out of 9. Asian countries have the biggest fan following considering that Cricket is religion there and also they are the most populous of nations. Their cricket boards are the richest and contribute the highest to the ICC revenues. Yet it is those cricketers who have been at the receiving end with umpires and match referees. Murali has been accused of chucking and critics still don't keep shut even after umpteen tests have proved it otherwise. Pakistan has been accused of ball-tampering during the infamous Oval Test. India has also been accused of ball tampering in South Africa. Umpires like Steve Bucknor, Billy Doctrove and Darryl Hair have given numerous decisions against Asian teams that changed the fortunes of the games. Match referees punish dissent shown (if at all) only by Asians and excuse the others. Mike Slater's incident in Mumbai went scot-free. Australians and Englishmen well known for sledging have been allowed to continue their ungentlemanly practice. Although the grounds in England and Australia look beautiful, orderly and modern, they still don't offer a "level playing field" to the oppositions.

Winning is everything - I don't believe in that. But competing fairly is. Australians might have won the Sydney Test match, but they lost their reputation. Their own countrymen to be honest aren't proud of what Ponting and his men did. This Australian team isn't going to get the goodwill that the Champion West Indian Team of 70s and 80s got. It is important to understand that it is after all just a game. For viewers it is just leisure and entertainment.

So, this Sydney Test Match is a turning point to me as a cricket follower. I am going to "hang up my boots" without Testing my patience and hoping things will get better. I will start concentrating on Chess both as a player and follower from now on.
I have good history of getting over addictions or bad habbits. I have successfully quit orkuting, biting nails, tracking stock prices, chewing gums and eating chocolates. Now I am hopeful of being able to get out of longest of addictions, cricket.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy New Year 2008

Yet another year has passed so quickly and I am now into the first hour of the New Year 2008. I went to sleep but wasn't able to catch it. Thanks to my afternoon nap. So got up from the bed and am writing the resolutions (in random order) for the new year.

1) Socialize - In the first minute of the New Year, my hostel friend told me on a serious note "You need to be outgoing. Outgoing doesn't mean going to parties. It means pro-actively meeting people and establishing your identity with them positively. It is particularly important to you as you are taking up a career in Marketing". I agreed with him and assured him that I will more social with some conviction. This is not the first time somebody is telling me. But I haven't really taken a serious effort.

2) Get up get going - Do as many activities as possible. Participate in class discussions, contests and events. Don't just sit alone and browse in the hostel. Don't procrastinate. Others might do that but they can somehow do things well at the last moment. Laziness bug has bitten me and I need to find a quick yet permanent cure for that.

3) Acquire knowledge and skills by doing rather than reading. Reading anything that too only once does not help one in understanding it thoroughly or remembering things for long. Whatever expertise I have gained so far has always been by doing, analyzing, discussing and researching. I use my free time in reading newspapers, internet and books. Instead I could work on projects. Or after reading an article instead of quickly switching over to next one, I could spare a moment to ask questions like why or why not and find answers myself. Not only do I need to get a general knowledge on all I read but also in-depth knowledge on my areas of interest like E-commerce, ERP and Marketing.

4) Be health conscious - Practice Yoga daily. I have been practicing it over last one year. I am proud of this but has been irregular over last 3 months. I need to do the aasanas slowly while concentrating more on breathing. Continue the regular diet, avoid temptations to go out and eat spicy food or chocolates. Shouldn't eat snacks in place of Lunch and Dinner. Early to bed and early to rise. I have become weak and lost 5 kg last year. Need to get fitter and put on some weight not around my stomach though ;-)

5) Cricket - Neglect one-day and twenty20 cricket completely. I won't have time for them. If at all required restrict to Test Cricket. India plays a whopping 19 matches this year. There must be a match or two in Mumbai against South Africa or Australia or England and hope to go to the stadium to see that. Cricket should just be a hobby and not a priority. This will be the tougher resolution to follow than even socializing. Need to follow not just the matches played on the field and collect statistics but also need to understand the cricketing system. Find out the Australian and English domestic system and analyse how different are they from the Indian one.

6) Stocks - My keenness to earn, save and multiply money has declined since my easy earnings at Japan. So I have been sleeping on the stocks that I bought more than 2 years back. They have done well but a periodic review of the portfolio would have been better. Warren Buffet might say that you should buy a stock and be ready to hold it comfortably even if the stock is not traded in the exchange for 5 years. But I am no Warren Buffet to have a vision about my investment for 5 years. My analysis and forecasting is good enough for at the most one year. Having said about periodic review, the review has to be annual or when a major economic or industry or company news occurs. And it should never get to the extent of daily price monitoring.

7) Mumbai - There are so many places yet to explored in the city and hill station nearby. Haven't traveled much in Metro train or BEST buses. This year will give the best opportunity for this. Need to make good use of this opportunity.

8) MBA - Having dreamt of doing MBA during last 4 years and now that the dream has come true. The journey doesn't end there. That is just the beginning. I need to concentrate on lectures in the class atleast when I attend, anyway I don't sleep, no point in just being physically present there. Project work needs to be completed at least 1 week before the deadline. Start preparing for final placements right away. Decide carefully on the industry and profile to take up. Work on being salable to companies, Have learnt this lesson the hard way for summer placements.

Management education has taught me that goals should be SMART. Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time bound. Management is not just about planning it also about Organising, Actuating and Controlling. Meaning don't just leave this after blogging. Need to execute this. Now it is time to stick to resolution no 4 by going to sleep.