Sunday, May 01, 2011

Why is it difficult to blog consistently?

I have been rather inconsistent in coming up with new blog posts in this blog. But I admire people who are consistent more than those you exhibit flash of brilliance once in a while. I am just trying to analyse why this is happening to me.

Creative Activity - It requires one to be in best of moods, fresh mind, good amount of energy to keep the creative juices flowing. To think about something deeply enough to come out with a sizable rather meaningful post.

Micro-blogging - Advent of Micro blogging services like Twitter allows us to have half baked/shallow thoughts and yet share it within 140 characters. Then why think deep enough to come out with a full fledged blog post. To argue other way, blogs have been on a rise because of twitter as it allows people to share and converse on those blog posts better.

Changing Interests - My interest in cricket has been constant throughout, that is why majority of my blog posts have been on cricket. Though I am fundamentally passionate in business, my interest about various aspects of business have been changing. Varying from Stock Markets, Software, Marketing, Branding to now Manufacturing. Now I am setting up a factory for manufacturing coconut oil, once it is done my interest will change towards Trading (Copra Purchase and Coconut Oil Sales) and HR (hiring and managing people). One does not develop expertise in anything while his interests keep changing. To have original thoughts and write on a subject, one must be an expert in it.

Discipline - This is by far the biggest reason, why writing is so difficult.
Discipline is doing what we decided to do and not what we feel like doing. (Source).
We often feel like blogging about it when we think about something, but when we sit to organize our thoughts and write about it, we face writer's block. Then it takes discipline to write without quiting.
Writing is a work that matters, and it is our tendency to work on easy things that don't matter.
The first rule of doing work that matters. Go to work on a regular basis. - Seth Godin
Stage Fear - Though we write on the computer alone, there eventually is a large audience that will read it later. That causes fear in us as to what the reader will think about us. Will he spot our mistakes, deficiencies? We doubt our authority on the subject. Actually, what happens is the reader rarely gets into the details and he  mostly believes what is written :-)

Now, should I announce that I would like to write consistently i.e. once a fortnight.

Monday, April 04, 2011

India wins the Cricket World Cup 2011

Sachin Tendulkar kissing the Wold Cup India won

This post is to celebrate India's victory in The ICC Cricket World Cup, 2011. I can't control my emotions as I write this, with tears coming out all over my eyes. Though I am an ardent Test Cricket lover, this world cup victory (though in limited overs format) is my proudest moment as an Indian cricket fan.

Its my 50th post
Writing 50 posts has been a achievement for me as I have been writing blogs rather consistently for last 5 years on various aspects of cricket, business, my personal life and technology. All the posts have been about expressing my original thoughts and opinions. It was never meant to be a source of news/information about any subject. It will always be about me and that it why it is my 'personal blog'.

Dhoni - The Leader/Hero
I would like to single out Dhoni's captaincy and Kirsten's coaching as the most important factors for Team's success. While most of us try to achieve coolness in not preparing before an event. They did all the hard, dirty, uncool things like planning, preparation and practice.
Dhoni, a middle class boy from poorest state of Jharkhand, not known to have produced any cricketers before, no role model to look up to. Having ordinary aspirations like riding bikes, drinking buckets of milk, hanging out with friends. He has come a long way to be remembered as among the best sports leaders of all time.
Whatever Dhoni has been touching have been turning gold. He has taken India to No.1 in Tests for last year and half, World T20 Cup in 2007, now The World Cup, IPL 2010 and Champions League 2010. His midas touch is not just about luck, it is about his hard work, leadership, ability to deal with pressure situation with a cool head and it is basically his personality.
After this World Cup triumph, I would rate him as a bigger match winner for India even bigger than Sachin Tendulkar and Anil Kumble. As in a team game, I believe the biggest contribution a person can make is as a leader than as a batsman, bowler or a wicket keeper. A leader who gets the best out of the team is always more valuable than a specialist who does his job well.

Dedicated to Sachin Tendulkar
Sachin, we know has achieved everything a batsmen can do in Tests and ODIs. 15000 runs and 51 tons in Tests, 18000 runs and 48 tons in ODIs at a batting average and strike rate well above par. And yeah, he hasn't scored his 100th International hundred which he will definitely score sometime. But what was missing from his cup-board was a World Cup.
Virat Kohli's famous words after the match - "Sachin has carried the burden of the nation for 21 years. It's only fair we carry him now".
He has done everything Team India had asked over the years and now the team has won him the World Cup, rather he has himself contributed by scoring 482 runs with 2 hundreds and 2 fifties all against Test playing nations in important games. Waited for 22 years and he knows its value better than anyone else. Ask an Australian player of 2000s, he will tell it very casually “Yeah, I was part of the World Cup winning team”. But to Sachin it is everything, despite having so many other things with him that nobody else have.

How we reached here
Not long ago, just 11 years back, Indian cricket had reached its nadir. Whitewashed by Australia 3-0, whitewashed by South Africa 2-0 at home, never won a Test Series abroad for 14 years and crippled by match fixing controversy. But we did have a bunch of supremely talented players.
Then came Ganguly Wright era when things started turning around. That match in Kolkata and The Series against Australia in 2001 set the tone and laid the foundation for future that we are seeing now. The players in Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman, Harbhajan Singh, Sachin Tendulkar, Anil Kumble, Virender Sehwag and Zaheer Khan brought the team into a steep ascent. Now Gautham Gambhir and Mahendra Singh Dhoni form the core of this Champion Indian Team.

What this world cup will do for the team
Being good, talented, gifted, excellent, exceptional are all lesser when compared to being “Champions”. We have always known Indians as former, but with great leadership we have transcended to become latter i.e. Champions. Before the CB series win in Australia 2008, India has always been the best team in the tournament only to end up being runners up.
From now they get into any match as favourites, as world champions, no push overs in any conditions. They have the pressure to perform well and win games and series. More than the pressure it gives them enormous self-confidence and belief that they can win anything. Winning they say is a habit and the team will be carrying that habit.

What next?
India has some important tours coming up this year with the 4 Test series in England and a 4 Test series in Australia. India haven't won a series in Australia and South Africa but they have come close by drawing in the recent years. From a point 10 years ago where India would be happy to not get whitewashed, now they go there expecting to whitewash the opponents at their home. They won't be satisfied with just a series win with a 1 test margin.
Gary Kirsten tenure as Indian Coach is over. Ganguly and Kumble have retired. Tendulkar, Dravid and Laxman may retire any time soon. Sehwag, Zaheer, Harbhajan have reached 30s. We may face a similar situation like Australians are finding now. The next generation cricketers who grow up playing limited overs cricket may find it difficult to cope with the rigours of Test cricket.

Leadership Lessons
  • Leader takes decisions, which may be against the popular logic, but ultimately he is responsible for his decisions. The buck stops with him. So, he should be free to take decisions based on his gut feel.
  • Great Leaders in Alan Border, Steve Waugh and now MS Dhoni have been the practitioners of the saying Tough times don't last but tough men do.
  • Don't try to avoid/escape pressure, deal with it. Indian chase had reached a point where they had things under control after a 100 run partnership between Gambhir and Dhoni, but there was still pressure with required run rate still over 6. Gambhir wanted to release pressure by completing his century quickly and also bring the required run-rate down. So, he went for a rash shot and perished. But Dhoni was willing to take the pressure and slowly pushed the game forward just 25 runs at a time. He showed his heroism of completing the game with a six only when it was absolutely sure that India would win, when they were only one hit away from glory and the ball was in the slot for that shot.
  • It is not about skills and power, it is about the ability to handle pressure. Sachin and Dhoni have been handling pressure of 1.21 billion people. But Sachin has loads of talent too. Dhoni, except that he can hit those helicopter shots has no special talent as such.
  • As a leader of my organization, whenever I am under trouble, I will always visualise Dhoni for the cool head he keeps under pressure.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Apple's Macbook Air - 13 inch - 128 GB

My present HP laptop is 3.5 years old and is pretty slow with Windows Vista ;-( So, it is ripe time to buy a new laptop. Now that I am setting up a new coconut oil factory, I am planning to include the purchase as part of that project itself. For industry purpose I have 2 Dell business desktops. For me as a C-Level executive, I need a laptop that is light and travel friendly, so a Netbook is better than a Notebook.

Here are a few reasons why the Macbook Air's 13 inch, 128 GB model is appropriate to me

  • Adequate - Presently I use 15" monitor, I am not sacrificing by coming down to 13" as the screen resolution is better. I use this mainly for business, so no movies, videos, music and pictures that occupy most space. If required I can always store them in external hard drive. I mostly browse, email, social network, use spreadsheets and do word precessing. I only need basic softwares and Office tools. So the processor speed of 1.86 GHz, 2 GB RAM and 128 GB Flash Drive is adequate for my needs.
  • Travel friendly - The whole device weighs only 1.3 kg or just 1.5 times the 1 litre coconut oil pouch. Present laptop is about 3 kg, carrying it with the charger was severe on my back. High battery back up of up to 5 hours means I can be more productive while travelling.
  • Data is safe - MAC OS X is UNIX based and very secure. Also the fact that it enjoys much lesser OS market share, not many bother to write viruses for them. So, one need not buy a separate Antivirus software. Mechanical Hard Disk drive and Optical drives are absent, so that drastically reduces the noise levels, cooling requirements, power consumption and space. Hard disk is replaced by NAND Flash that has no moving parts and is less prone to failure. That means there is no need to constantly format the drives.
  • Fast - Reviews say they boot in 10 seconds and shutdown in 5 seconds. My present laptop just takes 30 times longer! Use of flash drive for secondary storage makes a major impact with speed. Reading from Flash memory is almost as fast as that from RAM. Majority of the work involves reading like loading of softwares or data files.
  • Experience - Based on what my friends have told me, Apple gives an ultimate user experience with simple and intuitive interface. It may take some time to get used to the system but once you get used to it, you end up being an Apple fan or an addict.
  • Image - Owning an Apple products takes me to a different league, the group that is different from ordinary Windows users. Apple computers start from $ 1000 onwards only, and its competitors claim that to own an apple computer one needs to pay $ 500 Apple tax, i.e. for a similar hardware configuration in Wintel (Windows on Intel) will cost $ 500 lesser than that of Apple. Apple products are considered to be innovative, simple, intuitive, classy and user friendly. It will be a great feel good factor for me to use this product and to show it off to others ;-)
  • Price - The price is close to Rs. 80,000 and is on the higher side. I spend a majority of my day with my computer. When I am spending so much on buying the best quality machines for the manufacturing process. Why not buy the best personal computing machine?