Monday, September 13, 2010

The illustrated guide to a Ph.D.

Monday, July 06, 2009


Tuesday, June 30, 2009

India’s New Retailers

India’s New Retailers
Microfinance institutions are going beyond financial products to sell phones, fridges and more. Everyone gains: rural consumers, rural sellers, companies and MFIs.

Friday, May 22, 2009

The Evolution of Cell Phone Design Between 1983-2009

22 May

Cell phones have evolved immensely since 1983, both in design and function.

From the Motorola DynaTAC, that power symbol that Michael Douglas wielded so forcefully in the movie “Wall Street”, to the iPhone 3G, which can take a picture, play a video, or run one of the thousands applications available from the Apple Store.

There are thousands of models of cell phones that have hit the streets between 1983 and now.

We’ve picked a few of the more popular and unusual ones to take you through the history of this device that most of us consider a part of our everyday lives.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Self-Confidence for Leaders

I was recently teaching in a seminar for MBA students at the University of California at Berkeley's Haas School of Business. A young second-year student seemed anxious to talk with me. He finally asked: "I have read your book, What Got You Here Won't Get You There. In the book you talk about classic challenges faced by your clients. I noticed that you never discuss self-confidence problems. How do you deal with your client's self-confidence problems?"

This was a great question. It made me realize that I rarely encounter self-confidence problems in my work with CEOs and potential CEOs. It is almost impossible to make it to the top level in a multibillion-dollar corporation if you do not believe in yourself. On the other hand, I am frequently asked to speak at business schools (in fact five this month), and I have noticed that students in my seminars often want to talk about it.

I will share a few suggestions about how you can build your self-confidence, as it is a key quality that leaders must possess. I also hope you, my readers, will offer your own suggestions.

• Don't worry about being perfect. There are never right or wrong answers to complex business decisions. The best that you can do as a leader is to gather all of the information that you can (in a timely manner), do a cost-benefit analysis of potential options, use your best judgment—and then go for it.

• Learn to live with failure. Great salespeople are the ones who get rejected the most often. They just "ask for the order" more than the other salespeople. You are going to make mistakes. You are human. Learn from these mistakes and move on.

• After you make the final decision—commit! Don't continually second-guess yourself. Great leaders communicate with a sense of belief in what they are doing and with positive expectations toward the achievement of their vision.

• Show courage on the outside—even if you don't always feel it on the inside. Everyone is afraid sometime. If you are a leader, you direct reports will be reading your every expression. If you show a lack of courage, you will begin to damage your direct reports' self-confidence.

• Find happiness and contentment is your work. Life is short. My extensive research indicates that we are all going to die anyway. Do your best. Follow your heart. When you win, celebrate. When you lose, just start over the next day.

Readers: What suggestions might you have to help people increase self-confidence? Any of your thoughts are appreciated.

Marshall Goldsmith is the author of the Wall Street Journal bestseller Succession: Are You Ready? as well as the New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller What Got You Here Won't Get You There, a Harold Longman Award winner for Business Book of the Year. He can be reached at, and he provides his articles and videos online at

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

10 innovation lessons from The Economist magazine's Project Red Stripe

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Reinventing your business model

One secret to maintaining a thriving business is recognizing when it needs a fundamental change.

In 2003, Apple introduced the iPod with the iTunes store, revolutionizing portable entertainment, creating a new market, and transforming the company. In just three years, the iPod/iTunes combination became a nearly $10 billion product, accounting for almost 50% of Apple’s revenue. Apple’s market capitalization catapulted from around $1 billion in early 2003 to over $150 billion by late 2007.

This success story is well known; what’s less well known is that Apple was not the first to bring digital music players to market. A company called Diamond Multimedia introduced the Rio in 1998. Another firm, Best Data, introduced the Cabo 64 in 2000. Both products worked well and were portable and stylish. So why did the iPod, rather than the Rio or Cabo, succeed?.................

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Indian Harvard grads turning biz plans into success stories

Back in 2005, Ashwin Damera, a student at Harvard Business School (HBS), had a bright idea. What India’s booming e-commerce industry lacked, he believed, was a comprehensive travel portal. His idea won him second place in the classroom business plan contest; the winner of which was a proposed plus size lingerie company. He doesn’t think that one came through, but a year later Travelguru did, thanks partly to generous cheques from three unexpected investors - Damera’s own classmates.

Meet Ankur Daga, one of Damera’s angel investors, and himself an entrepreneur. Fresh out of HBS he founded Angara, an online jewellery company that emerged from watching friends struggle with purchasing jewellery. Despite his family background in jewellery, Daga wasn’t expected to follow suit. “The question was always ‘You’re highly educated, shouldn’t you be working for a private equity or a consulting firm’ ?” he says. But Daga doesn’t feel deprived. “I’ve done the McKinsey stint; I wanted to start something on my own, and the earlier the better.”

Daga and Damera aren’t the only ones to go against the grain. More and more Indian graduates from HBS are rocking the boat by ditching traditionally espoused careers on wall street or in consulting for entrepreneurship , ending up with cross-border businesses and bifurcated lives. They include people like Naveen Tewari (Class of 05), a McKinsey consultant who returned to India to start mKhoj, a mobile advertising network . “When I went in to HBS all I wanted to be was a partner in McKinsey . That disappeared in exactly three months,” he says.

According to William Sahlman, Senior Associate Dean at HBS who teaches a second year course on Entrepreneurial Finance, after 10-15 years, almost 50% of graduates are involved in entrepreneurial settings. India has seen its share of successful HBS entrepreneurs from Ashish Dhawan of ChrysCapital to Avnish Bajaj and Suvir Sujan of Bazee (later gobbled by eBay). Lately, though, they are jumping into the water and getting their feet wet earlier, sometimes , while still in school.

Kapil Vishwanathan’s was a case of campus entrepreneurship. He floated Pre-Media Global, a Chennai-based leading vendor providing content services to the US publishing industry , while still at HBS, along with his sister Kami, also an HBS alum. He’s wanted to become entrepreneur as long as he can remember. “It had to be a cross-border enterprise . It was just a question of when,” he says. He even tried to support other young business leaders pursue their entrepreneurial dreams by starting the Entrepreneurship Club at HBS. “Of course, the investing and banking clubs were larger,” he jokes.

Entrepreneurship has never been more in vogue than now. Paresh Vaish, a partner with Boston Consulting group and HBS Class of ‘86, says, “The top quartile of the class got jobs in investment banking and the rest aimed for corporate jobs.” Since his time, the number of electives in entrepreneurship has gone from three to 20, and number of dedicated faculty from five to 32, the largest faculty contingent focused on entrepreneurship at any business school in the world. “In the 70s, 80s and even the 90s, HBS was all about propelling you the quickest to make partner in McKinsey or Goldman Sachs. It’s no longer the case,” says Sumeet Narang, batch of 06, who rejected an offer from Goldman to start Samara Capital, an India-focused private equity firm.

For Narang, this was his second management degree; he’s also an alumnus of IIM Lucknow. His second stab at it was largely driven by the fact that HBS offers one of the most “international and diverse candidature among business schools” . With a history in private equity and investment banking in his six-year career with Citibank, Narang says the tug to turn entrepreneur was always there, but HBS intensified it.

Like Narang’s , many of these startups were based on business plan entries in the second year business plan contest. Georgia-born , Gujarat-raised Abhi Shah, founder of Clutch — voted top Legal Process Outsourcing (LPO) company from among 80 LPOs worldwide — says he and a classmate came up with 38 different business ideas during Think Week, a concept they borrowed from Bill Gates.

A part of the plan generating process was to have them be thrown out the window. Anshul Arora (MBA 04) followed neither of the two plans he submitted for the contest. Instead, with an “atypical” career at McKinsey with exposure in developmental work, Arora pursued his dream of a business with a “clear social mandate and a commercial motive” . The result was Edvance Learning, an inventive education model that spots gaps in the education and training landscape, and designs products to fill the lacuna.

For Arora the choice was between Harvard and Stanford which, he says, also has a great entrepreneurial flavour to it, along with physical proximity to Silicon Valley, the birthplace of aggressive entrepreneurship. A key Harvard advantage, he says, lay in its international leaning. “HBS with its general management perspective naturally has a strength in entrepreneurship vis-à-vis business schools like Wharton or Stanford that have strengths in finance and strategy ,” says Ashish Singh, MD Bain Consulting and HBS alum.

Another trump card for the school, according to Tewari, is its famed case study methodology. “The case study method means there is no structure and no formula. Life is like that. You’ll never get a situation that is a replica of what you learn,” he says. Every week, he recalls, the class was introduced to the case of a thriving entrepreneur, ranging from Narayana Murthy (Infosys) to Jeff Taylor (Monster) and Andrew Viterbi (Qualcomm). “I began to realise that I could be just like them and it didn’t involve rocket science,” he says.

That’s a sentiment everyone felt at some point in the course of two years , says Daga: “In a class of 900, at least 200 think seriously about entrepreneurship .” Those that do act upon it have a common starting point — the HBS alumni network — deemed one of the world’s most powerful networks with over 70,000 members. “The best part about graduating from HBS is that you can get a meeting with anyone at anytime. And as an entrepreneur that’s the hardest part,” says Daga. “We have more than a 20% share of the global venture capital business with examples like John Doerr at Kleiner Perkins and Tim Draper at Draper Fisher Jurvetson. That kind of network is hard to replicate ,” says Sahlman.

A significant part of mKhoj’s $7 million Series A investment was landed through the HBS connection. “There is immediately a connection and the first question is, ‘Which section are you from’ ?” says Tewari. In fact, HBS has made such a success out of institutionalising its network that Vishwanathan didn’t require an investment banker when he raised $18 million for PreMedia ; he knew exactly who to call.

For Shah, on the other hand, the HBS advantage wasn’t just about fund-raising . Having built a political advocacy group for the Indian American community with 65,000 members , and a successful summer internship with Jerry Rao at Mphasis, meant his network of influence was fairly extensive and with deep pockets. “For me the choice was going the Bobby Jindal way or coming to India and making an impact as an entrepreneur ,” he jokes. Where the HBS connection did come to play was in his endeavour to recruit the best and the brightest. “It’s the credibility that comes from a school with pedigree,” he says.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Finders and seekers

This year marks the 125th anniversary of the patron economist of innovation. Joseph Schumpeter was born on 8 February 1883 — and his work on innovation and the role of the entrepreneur continues to be a beacon to economists, businessmen, management consultants and venture capitalists. Economist Lawrence Summers has said that the 21st century will be the century of Schumpeter.
It is usually believed that true innovation emerges out of the tinkering of smart people in labs, garages and university dorms. Think of Larry Page, Sergey Brin and Google. But there is also the structured innovation that comes from large companies. Think of the team of engineers at Tata Motors who designed the Nano. We usually tend to underplay the importance of the corporate innovation, especially if it is part of a slow-burn process of incremental advance.
Schumpeter often wrote later in his life that large companies, too, could be hotbeds of innovation. “By the mid-20th century”, writes his biographer Thomas K. McCraw, (Schumpeter) was arguing that innovation “within the shells of existing corporations offers a much more convenient access to the entrepreneurial functions that existed in the world of owner-managed firms”. In other words, it isn’t necessary to start your own firm to satisfy your entrepreneurial urges; you can do it within the innards of a large company.
Innovation has many dimensions. One of the most fascinating research programmes that I have come across in recent years is that of David Galenson, a professor of economics at the University of Chicago. In a series of papers that he has published over the past decade, Galenson has identified two types of innovators — the conceptual innovators and the experimental innovators.
Godard made his greatest films in his 30s and Clint Eastwood in his 60s. What does this tell us about innovation?
Galenson says that the conceptual innovators are the finders. They make bold leaps and challenge the existing way of looking at the world and doing things. This group mostly does its best work at an early age. The experimental innovators are seekers who gradually reach their goal, taking one step at a time. Their best work usually gets done later in life.
Galenson derives his insights by studying artistic achievement. He has recently published two new papers for the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) in the US. Take the movies — and two directors born in 1930. Jean-Luc Godard changed the grammar of cinema when he was in his 30s, but declined later. Clint Eastwood did not pick up the director’s megaphone till he was past the age of 40; and his best directorial work has come in his 60s. Godard directed Breathless when he was 30 while Eastwood made Letters From Iwo Jima at the age of 76. Galenson says that Godard was a conceptual innovator while Eastwood is an experimental innovator.
Cinema is just one arena where Galenson has picked his insights. The same patterns of innovation can be seen in other arts such as architecture, poetry, painting and novel writing. So Pablo Picasso was a conceptual innovator. Paul Cezanne was an experimental innovator. Among poets, T.S. Eliot was in the first category while Robert Frost was in the second. Among novelists, Ernest Hemmingway produced his best work at an early age while William Faulkner gave us his classics later in his life. “The elegant and sophisticated poetry of Cummings, Eliot, Pound, and Wilbur grew primarily out of imagination and study of literary history, and was formulated conceptually, while Bishop, Frost, Lowell, Moore, Stevens, and Williams produced poetry rooted in real speech and experience, drawing on the observed reality of their daily lives to innovate experimentally,” wrote Galenson in a 2003 article.
Galenson’s insights can be adapted to the world of business and innovation. Some businessmen strike like lightning at a young age. Others gradually come into their own later in their life. It is fair to say that Bill Gates was at his best in the early years of Microsoft. Sam Walton changed the retailing industry only much after he had moved into middle age. His innovations took place at a glacial pace, and were not the result of one inspired idea but gradual learning born out of experience. Steve Jobs seems to have magically transcended the divide.
Other economists too have tried to understand the interplay between drastic and incremental innovation. One group, for instance, believes that upstream firms usually produce drastic innovations while downstream firms tend to use these drastic innovations to produce their own incremental innovation.
Coming back to Galenson’s two categories of innovators, perhaps the distinction between the seekers and finders extends to national innovation systems as well. Would it be correct to say that the US is a nation of seekers while Japan is a nation of finders? And what about India? And Indian industry? Are we more finders or seekers? I invite readers to write in with their answers to these questions.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

17 mistakes startups make -- the 100-word version

In 1999 John Osher started Dr. John's SpinBrush to sell a $5 electric toothbrush. In 2001, he sold the company to Procter & Gamble for $475 million. Here are his "17 mistakes start-ups make" in 100 words.
  • Failing to spend enough time researching the business idea to see if it's viable.
  • Miscalculating market size. Entrepreneurs say, 'The market size is 50 million people. If I only sell to 2 percent, I'd be selling a million.' But most products sell less than 1 percent.
  • Making a commitment on sales projections that were wrong. Created costs that require those projections to be met. Run out of money.
  • Overprojecting sales prospects.
  • Making cost projections that are too low.
  • Hiring too many people and spending too much.
  • Lacking a contingency plans.
  • Bringing in unnecessary partners.
  • Hiring for convenience rather than skill requirements.
  • Spending half their time doing something that represents 5 percent of their business.
  • Accepting that it's "not possible" too easily.
  • Focusing too much on volume and company size rather than profit.
  • Looking for somebody to tell you you're right.
  • Lacking simplicity.
  • Lacking clarity of your long-term aim and business purpose.
  • Going after too many targets at once.
  • Lacking an exit strategy.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Eugene Kleiner Laws

  • Make sure the dog wants to eat the dog food. No matter how ground-breaking a new technology, how large a potential market, make certain customers actually want it.
  • Build one business at a time. Most business plans are overly ambitious. Concentrate on being successful in one endeavor first.
  • Risk up front, out early.
  • The time to take the tarts is when they're being passed.
  • The problem with most companies is they don't know what business they're in.
  • Even turkeys can fly in a high wind. In times of strong economies, even bad companies can look good.
  • It's easier to get a piece of an existing market than to create a new one.
  • It's difficult to see the picture when you're inside the frame.
  • After learning some of the tricks of the trade, some people think they know the trade. This reflected some of Eugene's own humility; he recognized that many venture capitalists thought they were experts when they had just a bit of knowledge.
  • Venture capitalists will stop at nothing to copy success.
  • Invest in people, not just products.
  • There is a time when panic is the appropriate response

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

The Long Nose of Innovation

innovation is not about invention. An idea may well start with an invention, but the bulk of the work and creativity is in that idea's augmentation and refinement. The newer the idea, the coarser the granularity of most analysis, and the more likely people are to say, "oh, that's just like X" or "that's been done before," without any appreciation for how much work and innovation is involved in taking an idea from concept to wide practice.


Rewarding the Art of Refinement

The heart of the innovation process has to do with prospecting, mining, refining, and goldsmithing. Knowing how and where to look and recognizing gold when you find it is just the start. The path from staking a claim to piling up gold bars is a long and arduous one. It is one few are equipped to follow, especially if they actually believe they have struck it rich when the claim is staked. Yet the true value is not realized until after the skilled goldsmith has crafted those bars into something worth much more than its weight in gold. In the meantime, our collective glorification of and fascination with so-called invention—coupled with a lack of focus on the processes of prospecting, mining, refining, and adding value to ideas—says to me that the message is simply not having an effect on how we approach things in our academies, governments, or businesses.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

A Leader's Real Job Description

Jack Welch has his "4E" framework for what makes for a great leader: positive energy, ability to energize others, edge to summon the courage to make tough decisions, and ability to execute. The Welch framework is just one of many in the leadership literature. Leadership gurus from Warren Bennis to Ram Charan have their own well-known and well-advanced formulas.....

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Career Assessments

The process of self-reflection will help start you on your way towards identifying a career path that fits your interests. The purpose of self-reflection is for you to identify your qualities and personal preferences. What are your strengths? What do you value? What are your interests? What skills and abilities do you possess? What skills and abilities do you wish to develop? The better you know yourself, the better choices you will make with regard to your major and career.

Resume and Cover Letter Tips

Summary, not objective

Whereas the resume for an entry-level position typically includes a general objective describing the type of opportunity desired, the experienced candidate will be better served by summarizing three or four skills that match the employer's needs. These highlights can appear in a short paragraph or quick "bullet" format.

Lead with experience, not education

There are other differences, too. Typically resumes of recent graduates provide education information after the objective. Although you should include this information on your resume, it's better to place it toward the bottom; your actual experience is more important than your education and should lead your resume.

Accomplishments, not just responsibilities

When detailing job history, don't fall into the trap of just listing responsibilities. Think in terms of what you accomplished by completing those tasks. In other words, don't just tell employers what you did; also tell them the outcome of your actions. "Developed departmental budget" could be a duty. "Proposed and tracked annual $500,000 departmental budget. Only division to meet deadlines and operate within budget during past three years" is a statement that details the results of your problem-solving abilities and clues in the employer to specific problems you can solve.

Include relevant activities, not hobbies

Clubs, organizations, and outside interests - a staple for entry-level candidate resumes - should be approached with caution by the experienced candidate. Activities that relate directly to your self-improvement efforts, e.g. continuing education, and the position you're seeking are important to include. Hobby-type activities should not be included.

Your resume isn't limited to one page

The length of the resume may also be different for the experienced candidate. Whereas a two-page document might not be appropriate for a new graduate, it can serve a valuable purpose for the seasoned professional. Often, the candidate has enough relevant accomplishments and experiences to expand to a second page. Content is more important that length.

Cover Letter Checklist

Which cover letter are you writing? A power cover letter or a limp cover letter? Check for yourself.

  • I really don't know to whom I am writing this letter, but that's OK. It can be read by anyone.
  • All I need to say in my cover letter is that I am enclosing my resume. The employer can look at it and see if he likes what he sees, he can call me.
  • I have no idea what the employer does or needs at this time. Anyway, it's not necessary to talk about that in the cover letter.
  • I don't have to write about what I have to offer the employer. She/he can figure it out from my resume.
  • I'll tell the employer to give me a call to set up an interview, and I'll just wait for the phone to ring.
  • I want to know the specific person who will be reading my cover letter and responding to it.
  • I want the employer to know that I have taken the initiative to learn about his organization and to think about how I can assist him.
  • I will make sure the employer knows about the specific aspects of my resume that directly relate to their needs by pointing then out in my letter.
  • I want the employer to know how I plan to follow up on my letter. I don't want to waste time sitting around waiting for the phone to ring. I will take the next step.

Interview Preparation Tips

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


Industry Maintains Record-breaking Trend; 2007 Q3 Revenues Up Over 25% from 2006 Q3

The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC) today announced that Internet advertising revenues exceeded $5.2 billion for the third quarter of 2007, representing yet another historic high for a quarter and a $1.1 billion increase, or 25.3 percent, over Q3 2006. The results, published in the IAB Internet Advertising Revenue Report, are nearly 3 percent higher than Q2 2007, itself the last record-setting quarter. All three quarters in 2007 have set new highs—Q1 at $4.9 billion, Q2 at $5.1 billion, and now Q3 at $5.2 billon. Revenues for the first nine months of 2007 totaled $15.2 billion, up nearly 26 percent over the $12.1 billion recorded during the first nine months of 2006.

They're Making Money From Your Kids

Do children need perfume or $30 haircuts? No, but smart entrepreneurs targeting affluent parents know how to make you think they do

Web spending hits new record in third quarter

U.S. Internet advertising revenue rose 25 percent in the third quarter to about $5.2 billion, a new record, according to data released on Monday.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

The Dream Manager

What skills does a Dream Manager have?

Dream Manager is someone who has strong competitive urges. The three qualities we look for are hungry, humble, and smart. We want people to be hungry in the sense that they have some ambition. We want them to be humble in the sense that a Dream Manager is not responsible for living the dreams, and shouldn't take the credit when people do live their dreams. We want them to be smart, not necessarily in the academic sense, but more street-smart.

Why do we need a dream manager?

MK: As human beings we're driven by our dreams. I think there's a growing awareness that we have a turnover problem in corporate America. It's a big problem. Disengagement is probably the only problem larger than the turnover problem. A lot of employees quit and stay. So, they're disengaged on the inside, but they keep showing up to work and collecting a paycheck. These people are poisonous to an environment. They're absolutely toxic to a business. The most engaged employees are those who can see the connection between the work they do each day and their personal dreams. Dream Managers make that real.

What would you tell someone who has lost touch with their dreams and is reading this interview, but hasn't read the book yet? What's the first thing they should do to get back in touch with their dreams?

MK: Sit down and put together a list of 100 dreams. It will be hard work at first, but take a look at the 12 areas: physical, emotional, intellectual, spiritual, psychological, material, professional, financial, creative, adventure, legacy, and character. Essentially, if you come up with eight dreams in each of those areas, you've got your list of 100 dreams.

Social-Network Traffic Surpasses Web-based Email’s in UK

October traffic to the top 25 social networks, such as Facebook, Bebo and MySpace, accounted for 5.17% of all UK internet visits, compared with 4.98% for the “Computers and Internet - Email Services” category, such as Hotmail, Yahoo Mail and Gmail, according to Hitwise (via ResearchRecap).

The End of SMART Goals? Now There’s an Easier Way Guest Post by “Justin Wolsey Riggs”

The End of SMART Goals? Now There’s an EASIER Way!

When I was a kid learning how to set goals, all I ever heard was “make sure your goals are SMART… Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timely.” The only problem was, setting SMART goals never seemed to help me achieve them! In fact, in my case, trying to make sure I set SMART goals usually left me tired, frustrated, and unsure of my ability to even set a goal properly, not to mention achieve it. I needed an easier way to incorporate this powerful personal development tool into my life. Lucky for me, I found one!

Years of research in the fields of human potential (and goal setting in particular) has shown that those who consistently achieve their goals follow a very specific pattern of behavior. In short, once goal-achievers intend to do something, they:

Envision what their life will look like after they have achieved their goal. Second, they assess where they stand in relation to that goal. Then, after creating an honest assessment, they begin strategizing how they are going to get from “where they are” to “where they want to be”. Next, they implement their strategy, and begin working towards the achievement of their objectives. As they progress (or regress, depending on how things are going), goal-achievers take time to evaluate their progress, and finally, they surround themselves with people they trust that they can report their findings to. When you line the process up, it looks like this.



The really good news is, each of us is already an expert in using the EASIER Method to achieve those ingrained goals that we call “habits”. Think about it: when you want to get home from work at 5:30 so that you can see your beautiful wife (or handsome husband, whatever the case might be), you:

Envision what it will be like when you walk in the door into the arms of your loved one (“Man, I can’t wait to get home and hug my honey! He/She’s always so warm and cuddly!”).
Assess when you’ll need to leave, and how long you have until the moment you can leave the rat race and head for greener pastures (“It’s 4:30 now, and I can’t leave until 5 if I want to have a job in the morning. If I’m going to make it home by 5:30, I’ll need to…).

Strategize as to what the best route will be (“… avoid the highway, because at that time of day, it’s bumper-to-bumper traffic. I’ll take the back roads instead, and stop by the flower shop on my way.”).

Implement your strategy with the hope that it will help you achieve your goal (“5:00! Time to get out of here!”).

Evaluate your progress along the way (“Darn! I wasn’t planning on this construction! I’m going to have to go a bit faster once I get through this traffic if I want to make it home on time!”)

Report your progress (“Hi, honey. Boy, am I glad to see you; it was a tough day at the office! Oh, these? They’re flowers – yes, for you! I know, I know, I shouldn’t have.”)

You see? You’re an EASIER Method expert without even having tried. Just imagine what you’re going to be able to achieve now that you understand the process that leads to consistent goal achievement! Happy goal-getting, and remember: there’s an EASIER Way to do everything!

Ten Habits of Incompetent Managers

Ten Habits of Incompetent Managers

by Margaret Heffernan

How do you identify the members of your team that could sink it? Get an expert's tips on the signs you should look for.

Three years ago, I joined the board of a company whose management, I soon recognized, was incompetent. I said so, but I was a new board member and the management had a lot of old friends and allies on the board. I was listened to respectfully but nothing much happened.

Three years on, the board has recognized that the management is incompetent. The consequences of leaving them alone for three years now threaten to sink the company. We’ve fired one manager and hope to stay afloat long enough to replace the other. A few generous board members, with good memories, have acknowledged that we would not be in this pickle had I been listened to in the first place. But how did I know these managers were incompetent? I’m not a seer and, trust me, I’m not gloating. But I knew they were incompetent because I’ve hired and fired so many incompetent people myself. Every experienced manager has; you probably remember yours. So what hallmarks of incompetence have I learned to identify?

Bias against action:There are always plenty of reasons not to take a decision, reasons to wait for more information, more options, more opinions. But real leaders display a consistent bias for action. People who don’t make mistakes generally don’t make anything. Legendary ad man David Ogilvy argued that a good decision today is worth far more than a perfect decision next month. Beware prevaricators.

Secrecy: "We can’t tell the staff," is something I hear managers say repeatedly. They defend this position with the argument that staff will be distracted, confused or simply unable to comprehend what is happening in the business. If you treat employees like children, they will behave that way -- which means trouble. If you treat them like adults, they may just respond likewise. Very few matters in business must remain confidential and good managers can identify those easily. The lover of secrecy has trouble being honest and is afraid of letting peers have the information they need to challenge him. He would rather defend his position than advance the mission. Secrets make companies political, anxious and full of distrust.

Over-sensitivity: "I know she’s always late, but if I raise the subject, she’ll be hurt." An inability to be direct and honest with staff is a critical warning sign. Can your manager see a problem, address it headlong and move on? If not, problems won’t get resolved, they’ll grow. When managers say staff is too sensitive, they are usually describing themselves. Wilting violets don’t make great leaders. Weed them out. Interestingly, secrecy and over-sensitivity almost always travel together. They are a bias against honesty.

Love of procedure: Managers who cleave to the rule book, to points of order and who refer to colleagues by their titles have forgotten that rules and processes exist to expedite business, not ritualize it. Love of procedure often masks a fatal inability to prioritize -- a tendency to polish the silver while the house is burning.

Preference for weak candidates: We interviewed three job candidates for a new position. One was clearly too junior, the other rubbed everyone up the wrong way and the third stood head and shoulders above the rest. Who did our manager want to hire? The junior. She felt threatened by the super-competent manager and hadn’t the confidence to know that you must always hire people smarter than yourself.

Focus on small tasks: Another senior salesperson I hired always produced the most perfect charts, forecasts and spreadsheets. She was always on time, her data completely up-to-date. She would always volunteer for projects in which she had no core expertise -- marketing plans, financial forecasts, meetings with bank managers, the office move. It was all displacement activity to hide the fact that she could not do her real job.

Allergy to deadlines: A deadline is a commitment. The manager who cannot set, and stick to deadlines, cannot honor commitments. A failure to set and meet deadlines also means that no one can ever feel a true sense of achievement. You can’t celebrate milestones if there aren’t any.

Inability to hire former employees: I hired a head of sales once with (apparently) a luminous reputation. But, as we staffed up, he never attracted any candidates from his old company. He’d worked in sales for twenty years -- hadn’t he mentored anyone who’d want to work with him again? Every good manager has alumni, eager to join the team again; if they don’t, smell a rat.

Addiction to consultants: A common -- but expensive -- way to put off making decisions is to hire consultants who can recommend several alternatives. While they’re figuring these out, managers don’t have to do anything. And when the consultant’s choices are presented, the ensuing debates can often absorb hours, days, months. Meanwhile, your organization is poorer but it isn’t any smarter. When the consultant leaves, he takes your money and his increased expertise out the door with him.

Long hours: In my experience, bad managers work very long hours. They think this is a brand of heroism but it is probably the single biggest hallmark of incompetence. To work effectively, you must prioritize and you must pace yourself. The manager who boasts of late nights, early mornings and no time off cannot manage himself so you’d better not let him manage anyone else.

Any one of these behaviours should sound a warning bell. More than two -- sound the alarm!

Creating the Inspiration -- Part 2

Motivating the Team

Lesson 1 -- Keep the scope of your vision within the appropriate bounds

Lesson 2 -- You want a lofty goal, but it should be realistic

Lesson 3 -- Your vision should be achievable within a reasonable period of time

Creating the Inspiration -- Part 1

Are vision statements really necessary? Does anyone really take them seriously? If the majority of vision statements are any indication, the answer to both questions is no. But are these companies missing something?

What Makes for a Good Vision Statement?

While there are many dimensions, at its core your vision statement should clearly delineate your direction or focus, as distinct from the direction or focus of your key competitors. Consider these questions:

  • Does your vision statement declare what you are going to do better than your competitors? Does it identify what makes you different and how you will beat the competition?
  • Does it identify your target market?
  • Does it capitalize on your strengths and minimize the impact of your weaknesses?
  • Would your vision statement fit any of your competitors or is it truly distinctive to you? Of all competitors in your target market, are you the best positioned to achieve that vision (in terms of market position, strengths and weaknesses, and capabilities)?
Apple iphone's Vision Statement will look something like this:

We will offer the preeminent multi-function communications and entertainment handheld device for high-end users by providing the most intuitive user interface to access the most desired functional capabilities, while applying the latest technology and packaging options in the design of our product.

Additional Dimensions

While this discussion focuses on the core elements of a good vision statement, there are many more factors which should be taken into consideration, including:

  • Is your vision statement broad enough to encompass all that you want to do without allowing forays into areas in which you have no distinctive competence?
  • Is your vision something you wish will happen; or is it something you truly believe your company can make happen?
  • Is your vision stated in such a way that employees as well as others can assess progress toward your objective?

How To Stand Out from the Herd - when you can't change who you are—how do you make your application something more than just one of many?

  1. Stop Stereotyping Yourself

  2. Mixing Up the Essay

  3. Connect With People, Not Web Sites

  4. More Than Grades and Scores

"...But applying to business school is like building a house. Your scores are only one pillar—if it doesn't have the other pillars it doesn't stand up properly."

...For international students like Mansukhani, being from a country where large numbers of students are also seeking a U.S. b-school education can make it more difficult for your application to stand out from the pile in the admissions office, even with top-notch test scores. And it's not just where you're from, it's also what you've done that can put you into the one-of-a-crowd category. There are plenty of applicants with backgrounds in consulting and banking, In other words, it's not that you're not right for business school. For business schools seeking diversity in their classes, you're too right.

Brands: The Power of Emotion

Brands that face a high degree of competitive parity—whose ad budgets depend on what competitors spend—in categories such as soft drinks, beer, and automobiles understand the entry to effective differentiation is through the personality door. They simply don't have unique rational claims to make, so they have to win people's hearts instead of their minds. But all brands, and all products—no matter the industry—can leverage the power of personality to strengthen their appeal. It can only add to the power of a differentiated positioning, (, 10/12/07).

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Some lessons from the life and career of a visionary

Narayan Murthy .....

I want to share with you, next, the life lessons these events have taught me. I will begin with the importance of learning from experience. Learning from experience be complicated. It can be much more difficult to learn from success than from failure. If we fail, we think carefully about the precise cause. Success can indiscriminately reinforce all our prior actions.

A second theme concerns the power of chance events. I am struck by the incredible role played by the interplay of chance events with intentional choices. While the turning points themselves are indeed often fortuitous, how we respond to them is anything but so. It is this very quality of how we respond systematically to chance events that is crucial. Of course, the mindset one works with is also quite critical.

As recent work by the psychologist, Carol Dweck, has shown, it matters greatly whether one believes in ability as inherent or that it can be developed. The fourth theme is a cornerstone of the Indian spiritual tradition: self-knowledge.

Indeed, the highest form of knowledge, it is said, is self-knowledge. I believe this greater awareness and knowledge of oneself is what ultimately helps develop a more grounded belief in oneself, courage, determination, and above all, humility — all qualities which enable one to wear one’s success with dignity and grace.

A final word: when, one day, you have made your mark on the world, remember that we are all temporary custodians of the wealth we generate, whether it be financial, intellectual, or emotional. The best use of wealth is to share it with the less fortunate.

I believe that we have all at some time eaten the fruit from trees that we did not plant. In the fullness of time, when it is our turn to give, it behooves us in turn to plant gardens that we may never eat the fruit of, which will largely benefit generations to come. This is our sacred responsibility.

22 Qualities that business schools look for

Business week has an excellent article listing 22 qualities that the business schools look for in a potential candidate. The qualities are:

  1. Intellectual ability: A candidate who is smart and easily able to handle the demands of the schoolwork and, ultimately, the business world.
  2. Quantitative orientation: A candidate who can "do" numbers.
  3. Analytical mindset: A candidate who is able to think critically and tolerate complex, open-ended problems.
  4. Success record: A candidate with a proven run of success.
  5. Maturity and professionalism: A candidate who looks, talks and acts like a grown-up.
  6. Leadership: A candidate who has created value by being at the helm in group-based activities and is comfortable in this role.
  7. Ambition and motivation: A candidate who is aiming for big things and planning to play in the senior leagues.
  8. Career potential: A candidate who has what it takes to go to the top.
  9. Perseverance and mental toughness: A candidate with evidence of the gritty staying power and self-reliance needed to overcome adversity.
  10. A strong, extrovert personality: A candidate who likes people and who is professionally (if not naturally) gregarious.
  11. Active orientation: A candidate with a bias to action and getting things done
  12. The killer instinct: A candidate who is not afraid of winning and seeing others lose.
  13. Personal integrity: A candidate with good interpersonal values and morals
  14. Community orientation: A candidate who demonstrates responsibility to community, society, and the environment, and who has an integrated, sustainable view of the role of companies in the world.
  15. Team player: A candidate who works well with others and who operates smoothly and constructively in collaborative situations.
  16. Diversity contribution: A candidate who brings interesting attributes, experiences, and depth of background to the group.
  17. Intercultural experience and tolerance: A candidate who has demonstrated a tolerance for diversity in people and cultures.
  18. Creativity and innovation: A candidate who is comfortable with change and ready to use it creatively.
  19. Communication ability: A candidate who can write, speak and organize ideas well.
  20. All-rounder: A candidate who is more than a suit, and who has an array of interests and passions in other things.
  21. Recruitability
  22. Likeability: A candidate who people enjoy having around. All else being equal, people always choose people they like as colleagues and co-workers

Monday, May 21, 2007

Effectively Influencing Up

As Peter Drucker has noted, "The greatest wisdom not applied to action and behavior is meaningless data."

The guidelines that help you convert your good ideas into meaningful action.

When presenting ideas to upper management, realize that it is your responsibility to sell -- not their responsibility to buy.

Focus on contribution to the larger corporation -- not just the achievement of your HR objectives.

Make a positive difference -- don't just try to "win" or "be right".

Focus on the future -- "let go" of the past.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Economics of CAT

The rat race for Common Admission Test (CAT) is nearly two-lakh strong and growing at over 20% annually. With the number of CAT applicants likely to touch 3.5 lakh in the next five years, the institutes offering preparatory courses are aggressively expanding their presence. The coaching class industry for CAT and other entrance exams for B-schools is estimated at over Rs 500 crore.

According to industry estimates, about 60% of CAT applicants in urban and semi-urban areas opt for coaching classes. The aspirants do not mind shelling out Rs 10,000-25,000 to take coaching for cracking CAT. Apart from six IIMs, more than 80 other B-schools consider CAT score for their admission process.

The market for players like Time, Professional Tutorials (PT), IMS, Career Forum and Career Launcher is not limited only to major cities. Smaller towns are also emerging rapidly on their radar.

Interestingly, Indore-based PT is considering launching a centre in the Middle East, targeting NRI and foreign students. “We are aiming to have 100 centres under our banner by the end of the current calendar year and signing up new franchisees aggressively.

We are anticipating the CAT aspirants to grow to 3.5 lakh in the next five years. Indian society is becoming upwardly mobile and CAT is emerging as one the favourite means to achieve career goals,” said Sandeep Manudhane, CMD, PT Education and Training Services that offers training for entrance exams through its 60 centres.

In Gujarat, PT is launching its new centres in relatively smaller centres like Godhra, Junagarh, Gandhidham, Gandhinagar and Mehsana. It trained close to 35,000 students last year and is aiming to enrol some 60,000 students during the current year for CAT, GUJCAT, TOEFL, GRE, GMAT and IELTS, among others.

Career Forum, headquartered at Pune with 55 centres, is also aiming to have 100 centres under its banner. “Number of coaching classes is mushrooming with consistently increasing CAT applicants. Also, students prefer to take coaching for CAT that is considered as the toughest entrance test in the country.

Meanwhile, TIME that runs a network of 130 centres across the country would set up 20 more in the near future. “We expect to train at least 60,000 students this year for CAT alone.

More students from smaller cities and working executives across cities are increasingly taking CAT,” Manek Daruvala, managing director, Time told ET. To capitalise on the increasing footfall, coaching centres are also offering services for overseas education and coaching for exams such as TOEFL, GRE, GMAT and IELTS

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

The Power to Change

What usually ignites someone's awareness that they need to change?

An "emotional wake-up call" is what often launches us into an awareness of the need to change, like a mild heart attack getting our attention that we need to change our diet and to start exercising. I've worked with executives, for instance, who were told by their boss that they must either change how they treated their employees or they would have to leave the organization. It sometimes takes a transformational event such as a crisis to get our attention.

A lot of people embark on efforts to change and fail to follow through. How do we sustain momentum to make the changes we're trying to make?

We've all failed to keep a New Year's resolution after only a few weeks of effort. The key to sustaining change is accountability in a supportive environment. This is one of the primary reasons that coaching is often such an effective approach in leadership development.

A coach provides the encouragement and the accountability over some period of time—a time that is critical in forming and cementing changed behaviors so that they become habits. I recommend to client organizations that a coach work with an executive for at least 12 months, if not 18, in order to get beyond just the adoption of some superficial new behaviors. Real, lasting transformation takes time.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Do M.B.A.s Make Better Entrepreneurs?

It's one thing to learn how to crunch numbers for an investment bank, quite another to start the next Microsoft, Google or even a decent restaurant.....

In the last 10 to 15 years, business schools have massaged their curricula to attract and then train the next generation of Bill Gateses, Sergey Brins and Karan Goels. Along with core classes in accounting and marketing, students now tackle interdisciplinary exercises with macro themes like globalization and environmental sustainability. They even team with engineering schools to learn how to start and run companies, not just maneuver spreadsheets.........

The number of U.S. business-school faculty teaching entrepreneurship classes has exploded, to 349 in 2006 from 12 in 1997, according to the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business......

Of the members of Forbes' 400 Wealthiest Americans, approximately two-thirds each year are self-made. How many of those carry M.B.A.s? In 2006, just 15%, down from 17% five years earlier.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

The Secret to Reinventing Yourself

How do you leverage the things you’ve done in the past for what you want to do in the future?

What have you done in the past that can enhance your personal brand? Remember, you’re more than the sum of your parts. You’re an evolving person who in the act of change has an edge over the other guy who doesn’t have your background. As the adage goes, you’re not getting older, just better.

Monday, March 12, 2007

How big is your bull?

Milo of Kroton was a famous Olympic wrestler in ancient Greece and was said to be the strongest man of his time. How he gained that strength is a tale worth telling and one that can teach us about ways to achieve our own goals.

When Milo was young, his family had a small farm and, on that farm, a small bull calf. Milo’s father placed the bull in Milo’s care and instructed his son to ensure that the bull grew up healthy and strong. One day, Milo’s father asked him, “How big is your bull today, Milo?” Milo ran outside, picked up the calf and carried him inside to show his father.

Each day, Milo’s father asked him “How big is your bull today, Milo?” and each day Milo ran outside, picked up the bull and carried him to his father. This went on for a number of years. As the bull grew, so did Milo’s strength.

One day, his father was competing in the games at the great Olympic Stadium. Knowing his son’s incredible strength would shock the crowd, Milo’s father asked his son the familiar question, “How big is your bull today, Milo?” Milo ran the short distance to their farm, picked up the now full-grown bull and carried him into the great stadium, placing him by his father’s side.

The crowd, seeing Milo carry a full-grown bull on his shoulders, erupted in applause. Word of his feat spread across the land and a legend was born.

In exercise physiology, this story represents the principle of progressive overload, or the need to progressively increase the degree to which we challenge ourselves when exercising in order to see continued improvements in our fitness. Fortunately or unfortunately, the human body is a great adapter and it will adjust, as necessary, to the amount of physical activity we undertake.

For example, 3.0 miles per hour might be a great speed on the treadmill when you first begin exercising but your body will soon adapt to that stimulus and will require a greater challenge if you want to keep seeing results. By gradually increasing the speed each week, you will continue to see improvements from your exercise routine.

In the story above, Milo became progressively stronger because he lifted a progressively heavier and heavier weight each day. If he had simply lifted the same size bull everyday, he would not have gotten any stronger because there would have been no need for him to get stronger. Likewise, if you are no longer seeing results from your exercise sessions, you need to ask yourself what you are doing differently today that will keep you progressively moving toward your goal.

Also, notice that Milo does not begin by trying to lift a full-grown bull. Instead, he begins when the bull is young and small and lifts him each day. It often takes great perseverance and patience to achieve a goal. Had Milo first attempted to lift the full-grown bull, he would have quickly become frustrated (and possibly injured) and given up, never realizing his true potential.

With exercise, begin easy and gradually work your way up to increasingly more challenging workouts. Make small adjustments to the intensity of your aerobic workouts and small increases in the weights you use when strength training. The objective is to establish a reasonable goal and then keep progressing toward it at a pace you can handle.

Lastly, the story demonstrates the need for consistency in your exercise program. If Milo had skipped a week or two every now and then, there is a good chance that bull would have outgrown him and he may never have caught up again. By sticking with it, day after day, Milo shows how important it is to maintain a consistent routine when trying to reach our goals. Each day is one small step towards your goal; don’t be afraid to take a bigger step today than you did yesterday.

Progressive increases in intensity, realistic goals, and consistent workouts will go a long way toward keeping you on the path to your own fitness goals. When you’re feeling impatient due to a lack of results from your exercise or diet plan, remember the words of Milo’s father - “How big is your bull?”. What are you doing today that has you progressing toward your goals for tomorrow?

Good luck and keep moving!

By Dan Strayton

Wednesday, March 07, 2007


To laugh is to risk appearing the fool.
To weep is to risk appearing sentimental.
To reach out for another is to risk involvement.
To expose feelings is to risk exposing your true self.
To place your ideas, your dreams, before a crowd is to risk their loss.
To love is to risk not being loved in return.
To live is to risk dying.
To hope is to risk despair.
To try is to risk failure.

Quotes from Brian Tracy

Quotes from Brian Tracy.

Brian Tracy

Brian Tracy

“One of the things, which I teach over and over again that is so important, is that nobody’s better than you and nobody’s smarter than you. People who are doing well have learned the rules!” -Brian Tracy

“Therefore, if you want to be successful at anything, the rule that’s number one is that all the answers have been found already. You don’t have to find a new answer. Somebody’s already paid dearly to find the answer. And if you find the answer and do what the other people did, you get the same result, and it’s as simple as that.” -Brian Tracy

I’ve found that luck is quite predictable. If you want more luck, take more chances. Be more active. Show up more often. ” -Brian Tracy

You have to put in many, many, many tiny efforts that nobody sees or appreciates before you achieve anything worthwhile. ” -Brian Tracy

Perhaps the very best question that you can memorize and repeat, over and over, is, “what is the most valuable use of my time right now?” -Brian Tracy

A major stimulant to creative thinking is focused questions. There is something about a well-worded question that often penetrates to the heart of the matter and triggers new ideas and insights. ” - Brian Tracy

Practice Golden-Rule 1 of Management in everything you do. Manage others the way you would like to be managed. ” -Brian Tracy

A clear vision, backed by definite plans, gives you a tremendous feeling of confidence and personal power. -Brian Tracy

People with clear, written goals, accomplish far more in a shorter period of time than people without them could ever imagine. ” -Brian Tracy

If what you are doing is not moving you towards your goals, then it’s moving you away from your goals.

-Brian Tracy

The Unsuccessful Salesperson says, the other guy has the best territory.
The Successful Salesperson says, every territory is the best one.
The Unsuccessful Salesperson says, that company will never buy.
The Successful Salesperson says, I can make that company buy -Brian Tracy

I believe through learning and application of what you learn, you can solve any problem, overcome any obstacle and achieve any goal that you can set for yourself. ” -Brian Tracy

The essence of a successful business is really quite simple. It is your ability to offer a product or service that people will pay for at a price sufficiently above your costs, ideally three or four or five times your cost, thereby giving you a profit that enables you to buy and to offer more products and services. ” -Brian Tracy

One quality of leaders and high achievers in every area seems to be a commitment to ongoing personal and professional development. -Brian Tracy

Myth Busters : Leadership & Management

Entrepreneurs & Leaders : It's simply a myth that entrepreneurs can't evolve into company builders. He says research shows quite the opposite: In great companies the entrepreneurs generally grow as the company grows. Here is a short list of those who evolved into company builders: Henry Ford, Sam Walton, Hewlett and Packard, J.W. Marriott, Sony's Akio Morita, Walt Disney, Intel's Robert Noyce and Gordon Moore, Southwest Airlines' Herb Kelleher, and of course Gates and Phil Knight. They made the shift from time telling to clock building - to seeing their primary creation as the company itself: what it stands for, its culture and how it operates.

Success & Pride : He finds willful humility in the best CEO’s who display tremendous ambition for their company combined with the stoic will to do whatever it takes, no matter how brutal (within the bounds of the company's core values), to make the company great. They ascribe much of their own success to luck, discipline and preparation rather than personal genius.

A peek inside Google's war chest

Google has filed its Form 10-K for the fiscal year ending 2006, and there are some interesting tidbits in there. First off, the company's good financial performance over the past several years—going from revenues of $439.5 million in 2002 to $10.6 billion in 2006—has resulted in a massive war chest. Google's cash and short-term investments amounted to over $11.2 billion at the end of 2006. That's a 433 percent increase from 2004's $2.1 billion, and there is little to indicate that the growth party will end any time soon.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Quotes of the Week

Pursuing a mission without achieving results is dispiriting; achieving results without a mission is meaningless.— Frances Hesselbein

A vision without a task is but a dream,a task without a vision is drudgery,a vision and a task is the hope of the world.— 18th-century inscription from a church in Sussex, England

The effective executive makes strength productive. He knows that one cannot build on weakness. To achieve results, one has to use all the available strengths -- the strengths of associates, the strengths of the superior, and one’s own strengths. These strengths are the true opportunities. To make strength productive is the unique purpose of organization. It cannot, of course, overcome the weaknesses with which each of us is abundantly endowed. But it can make them irrelevant. Its task is to use the strength of each man as a building block for joint performance. - Peter Drucker.

Knowledge has to be improved, challenged,and increased constantly, or it vanishes.- Peter Drucker.

The most serious mistakes arenot being made as a result of wrong answers.The truly dangerous thing is asking the wrong question..- Peter Drucker.

An overburdened, overstretched executive isthe best executive, because he or she doesn’t have the timeto meddle, to deal in trivia, to bother people.* Jack Welch

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams!Live the life you’ve imagined!As you simplify your life, the laws of the Universe will be simpler,solitude will not be solitude,poverty will not be poverty, nor weakness weakness.* Henry David Thorea

The only real security that a man can have in this world isa reserve of knowledge, experience and ability.* Henry Ford

Life is divided into three terms -that which was, which is, and which will be.Let us learn from the past to profit by the present,and from the present to live better in the future.* William Wordsworth

One of the main barriers to turning knowledgeinto action is the tendency to treat talking aboutsomething as equivalent to doing something about it.* Jeffery Pfeffer, Robert Sutton

You become a star not because of your title; you becomea star because you are adding star value to the company.* N. R. Narayana Murthy

There is only one success -to be able to spend your life in your own way,and not to give others absurd maddening claims upon it.* Christopher Morley

Follow effective action with quiet reflection.From the quiet reflection will come even more effective action.* Peter Ferdinand Drucker

The elephant passing through the market-place is always beset by curs,but he cares not. He goes straight on his own way. So it is always,when a great soul appears there will be numbers to bark after him.* Tulasidas

We learn…10%… of what we read20%… of what we hear30%… of what we see50%… of what we see and hear70%… of what we discuss with others80%… of what we experience personally95%… of what we teach others* William Glasser

We become like those with whom we associate:“A mirror reflects a man’s face, but what he isreally like is shown by the kind of friends he chooses.”* The Holy Bible

Love your job, but never fall in love with your companybecause you never know when the company stops loving you.* N. R. Narayana Murthy

I long to accomplish a great and noble task,but it is my chief duty to accomplishsmall tasks as if they were great and noble.* Helen Keller

Luck is a losers excuse for a winners success* Mike Lewis

When it comes to the future,there are three kinds of people:those who let it happen,those who make it happen,and those who wonder what happened.* John M. Richardson, Jr.

Half the world is composed of those who have something to say but can’t;the other half is of those who have nothing to say and keep on saying it.* Muriel Strode

Where you end up isn’t the most important thing.It’s the road you take to get there.The road you take is what you’ll lookback on and call your life.* Tim Wiley

Life is not a problem to be solvedBut a reality to be experienced.* Soren Kierkegaard

People love others not for who they are,but for how they make them feel* Irwin Federman

There are times when a man should be contentwith what he has, but never with what he is.* William George Jordan

Another flaw in the human character is that everybody wants to buildand nobody wants to do maintenance.* Kurt Vonnegut

If your actions inspire others to dream more,learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.* John Adams

Admit your errors before someone else exaggerates them.* Andrew Mason

You should be ambitious and achieve them.You should never start with a small aim.Your aim determines the nature of your accomplishments.If you are not ambitious enough, you shall not get enough to eat.* Subhashita

Good, better, bestNever rest till good be betterAnd better be best!* Harvey Mackay

Grief drives men to serious reflection, sharpens the understandingand softens the heart.* John Adams

Fear not for the future, weep not for the past.* Percy Bysshe Shelley

To laugh often and much;to win the respect of intelligent peopleand the affection of children…to leave the world a better place…to know even one life has breathed easier becauseyou have lived. This is to have succeeded.* Ralph Waldo Emerson

Life’s most persistent and urgent question is:What are you doing for others?* Martin Luther King, Jr.

If you know something, it is in your head.When you believe something, it is in your heart.* Gabriel A. Bankes

It is not the strongest of the species that survives,nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.* Charles Darwin

Positive attitude is like a fire:unless you continue to add fuel, it goes out.* Alexander Lockheart

If you want to conquer fear,don’t sit home and think about it.Go out and get busy.* Dale Carnegie

Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it.Boldness has genius, magic and power in it.Begin it now.* Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.* Albert Einstein

He who has nothing to die for has nothing to live for.* Moroccan Proverb

People who want the most approval get the least and people who needapproval the least get the most.* Wayne Dyer

Please all, and you will please none.* Aesop

The creation of art is not the fulfillment of a need butthe creation of a need. The world never needed Beethoven’s Fifth Symphonyuntil he created it. Now we could not live without it.* Louis I. Kahn

A good leader is a person who takes a little more than his share of theblame and a little less than his share of the credit.* John C. Maxwell

Study as if you were going to live forever;live as if you were going to die tomorrow.* Maria Mitchell

Whatever you’re ready for is ready for you.* Mark Victor Hansen

You can’t build a reputation on what you are going to do.* Henry Ford

Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.* Rumi

True wealth can not be found in your bank account.It can only be found in those you call friends.Those with whom you share your deepest feelings.And those who accept you for who you really are.* Mary Vandergrift

To live is the rarest thing in the world.Most people exist, that is all.* Oscar Wilde

Besides the noble art of getting things done,there is the noble art of leaving things undone.The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of non-essentials.* Lin Yutang

You may not have perfect teeth,or a nose to ever match,but if you’re smiling through your heart,that smile will be nothing less than beautiful.* Jackie Riedel

The only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary.* Vidal Sassoon

Be nice and smile to everyone you meet.You don’t know what they are going through,and they may need that smile. And treasure it.* Christine Huppert

Be not afraid of growing slowly,be afraid only of standing still.* Chinese Proverb

Happiness cannot come from without.It must come from within.* Helen Keller

When you lose, don’t lose the lesson.* The Dalai Lama

Courage is not the absence of fear,but rather the judgment that something elseis more important than fear.* Ambrose Redmoon

I had no shoes and complained,until I met a man who had no feet.* Indian Proverb

The purpose of an education is to replace an empty mind with an open one.* Malcolm S. Forbes

Opportunity is missed by most people becauseit is dressed in overalls and looks like work.* Thomas Alva Edison

There’s one sad truth in life I’ve foundWhile journeying east and west -The only folks we really woundAre those we love the best.We flatter those we scarcely know,We please the fleeting guest,And deal full many a thoughtless blowTo those who love us best.* Ella Wheeler Wilcox.

Take a second look …it costs you nothing.* Chinese Proverb

You can easily judge the character of a man byhow he treats those who can do nothing for him.* James D. Miles

The adventure of life is to learn.The purpose of life is to grow.The nature of life is to change.The challenge of life is to overcome.The essence of life is to care.The opportunity of life is to serve.The secret of life is to dare.The spice of life is to befriend.The beauty of life is to give.The joy of life is to love.* William Arthur Ward

Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions.Small people always do that, but the really greatmake you feel that you, too, can be really great.* Mark Twain

Monday, November 21, 2005

Classified calamity

Small ads are flooding away from newspapers and onto the internet

Search advertising—the small text-ads that appear alongside Google and Yahoo! searches—account for 40% of the online ad market. Another 20% goes to display ads and 18% to classified advertising. But search advertising can also work like a small ad and will increasingly challenge print classifieds as websites develop localised and more elaborate services for online users.

Perhaps the most significant development came on November 16th, when Google started up a prototype service called Google Base. It offers a searchable database of free listings, including small ads which can be narrowed down to postal regions. Among its first offerings were used cars. In time, Google could challenge eBay, whose own auction listings now work much like a giant classified website—especially with its “buy-it-now” options. But eBay charges sellers. Even so, it sold more than 450m items in the three months to September 30th, for almost $11 billion.

22 Qualities that business schools look for..

Business week has an excellent article listing 22 qualities that the business schools look for in a potential candidate. The qualities are:

1. Intellectual ability: A candidate who is smart and easily able to handle the demands of the schoolwork and, ultimately, the business world.
2. Quantitative orientation: A candidate who can "do" numbers.
Analytical mindset: A candidate who is able to think critically and tolerate complex, open-ended problems.
3. Success record: A candidate with a proven run of success.
4. Maturity and professionalism: A candidate who looks, talks and acts like a grown-up.
5. Leadership: A candidate who has created value by being at the helm in group-based activities and is comfortable in this role.
6. Ambition and motivation: A candidate who is aiming for big things and planning to play in the senior leagues.
7. Career potential: A candidate who has what it takes to go to the top.
8. Perseverance and mental toughness: A candidate with evidence of the gritty staying power and self-reliance needed to overcome adversity.
9. A strong, extrovert personality: A candidate who likes people and who is professionally (if not naturally) gregarious.
10. Active orientation: A candidate with a bias to action and getting things done
11. The killer instinct: A candidate who is not afraid of winning and seeing others lose.
12. Personal integrity: A candidate with good interpersonal values and morals
13. Community orientation: A candidate who demonstrates responsibility to community, society, and the environment, and who has an integrated, sustainable view of the role of companies in the world.
14. Team player: A candidate who works well with others and who operates smoothly and constructively in collaborative situations.
15. Diversity contribution: A candidate who brings interesting attributes, experiences, and depth of background to the group.
16. Intercultural experience and tolerance: A candidate who has demonstrated a tolerance for diversity in people and cultures.
17. Creativity and innovation: A candidate who is comfortable with change and ready to use it creatively.
18. Communication ability: A candidate who can write, speak and organize ideas well.
19. All-rounder: A candidate who is more than a suit, and who has an array of interests and passions in other things.
20. Recruitability
21. Likeability: A candidate who people enjoy having around. All else being equal, people always choose people they like as colleagues and co-workers

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Three phases in the Indian ITES industry.

There are three distinct phases in the Indian ITES industry.

The first phase had those players that started captive units, such as GE and Citigroup in the mid-1990s. This phase lasted for three-four years when the idea of third party was born and we saw the advent of the Spectramind, CustomerAssets and Msources of the world. We also saw VC-funded companies and niche companies entering the BPO space and, of course, there were the big daddies of IT such as TCS, Infosys and Satyam, who started Intelenet, Progeon and Nipuna, respectively, around the same time.

In the third phase, we are seeing these third-party players moving back to a captive set-up ... look at Eserve, Intelenet. We also are seeing global banks, automobile majors and insurance companies setting up their captive shops here in India, such as ABN AMRO, HSBC, General Motors, Aviva, etc.

The BPO industry has evolved though these various stages but now as these BPO players move up the value chain and execute more specialised functions, we will see the transformation from BPO to KPO (business process outsourcing to knowledge process outsourcing).

Both the industries are complementary to each other. In fact, many BPOs are repositioning themselves as KPO units. Only time will tell how much the media projects KPO as the next big thing.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Break through..

Derek Jones writes about the difference between successful person and an unsuccessful person ...

Have you noticed that the line between a successful person and an unsuccessful person is often just wafer thin. People who are unsuccessful are not necessarily irresponsible, lazy or lacking in character. Many are enthusiastic, hardworking and sincere and they appear to be very much like those who achieve remarkable things. So what's going on?..............

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Quotes Worth Reflecting - Bertrand Russell

"The good life is one inspired by love and guided by knowledge"
.What I believe

"Anything you're good at contributes to happiness"

"A stupid man's report of what a clever man says can never be accurate, because he unconciously translates what he hears into something he can understand. "
.A History of Western Philosophy

"Three passions, simple but overwhelmingly strong, have governed my life: the longing for love, the search for knowledge, and unbearable pity for the suffering of mankind. "

"To save the world requires faith and courage: faith in reason, and courage to proclaim what reason shows to be true. "
The Prospects of Industrial Civilization

"As soon as we abandon our own reason, and are content to rely upon authority, there is no end to our troubles. "
.An Outline of Intellectual Rubbish

"Fear is the main source of superstition, and one of the main sources of cruelty. To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom. "
.Unpopular Essays, Outline of Intellectual Rubbish