Monday, April 30, 2012

Lessons from the life of E Sridharan ..

Lessons from metro chief E Sreedharan's life for CEOs, managers & policymakers

Good article from The Hindu ..  

It took them 190 km and 14 years to muster the courage to let him go. And yet, two weeks before E Sreedharan quits as managing director, Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC), their trepidation is palpable. The question is not whether Phase III of the Delhi Metro will be completed by its deadline - 2016. The question is whether it will be done the Sreedharan way. Will his legacy continue after he is no longer at the steering wheel?

The man himself is unruffled. Sreedharan has full faith in his team to carry forward Delhi Metro's sterling tradition. After all, the credit for the project's success must go to the 7,000 employees who work hard everyday, he says.

This is Sreedharan the leader, who has evolved a system that he believes, can do without him. This is Sreedharan the man, who is self-effacing in his humility and can't be bothered with glory.

Yet, in the past decade fame chased him. As the Delhi Metro rolled out track after track with speed, precision and transparency, the 'Metroman' became the icon for many Indians.

Along the way, there were several attempts to deconstruct his success. Every little idiosyncrasy was analysed, each quote repeated several times over. Fans tried to build his work philosophy with scraps of information about how he ran the Delhi Metro. But very few succeeded in inculcating a bit of the Sreedharan style in their lives.

So as Sreedharan prepares for his time off, ET on Sunday decided to revisit the decade and a half that made him an icon. Only this time, we have culled the learnings and formatted them to fit into your role in life. This is the list of lessons with tips from the legend, customised for YOU.


Redefine the Context
Benchmark yourself against the prevalent system and you'll land with moderate success. It will not measure up to the grandeur of a Delhi Metro. Such things demand a vision not limited by convention or expectations. People would have been happy if the first phase of the metro was completed by the deadline - 2005. But Sreedharan raised the bar. He told his team, Delhites couldn't wait for 10 years for a Metro. The deadline was shortened by three years and met.

Focus on Goals Not Politics
Shore up your perseverance and prepare for maximum resistance, especially by political expediencies. "I don't know why some bureaucrats are not able to function. They should have the courage to stand up to their convictions and take decisions and not leave everything to the politicians," says Sreedharan. He followed this principle throughout his career.
One such occasion was as the head of the Konkan Railway project in the 1990s. They were years of flux as Goa saw chief ministers change four times between 1993 and 1994. Every change brought a fresh group of lobbyists into the spotlight. "Sreedharan was a rock who was determined to get the project completed," recalls PV Jayakrishnan who at the time worked as the chief secretary, Goa.
Sreedharan shares another anecdote. In the early years of his DMRC stint, he was to appoint international consultant for the project. His team chose the Japanese on the basis of their bids. But the then railway minister insisted on the Germans as they had lobbied hard for the position.
"I refused to give in. And refused to even give him any explanation," says the Metroman. He was confident he had chosen the best and followed all the required procedures. Finally, Sreedharan's choice was accepted. "That one incident [withstanding political pressures] increased the confidence of my team enormously," he explains.


Pick a Few Good Men
This one is a lesson by Sreedharan and about him. Despite being older than the rulebook allowed for (he was 65 years old), the government handpicked him for the job of heading the Delhi Metro project. The then Delhi chief minister, Sahib Singh Verma, the then Delhi lieutenant governor, Tejendra Khanna, the then Delhi chief secretary, Jayakrishnan, pushed for his candidature around 1996.
"We were convinced Sreedharan was the one who could make it possible," recalls Jayakrishnan, who is now the chairman of the central empowered committee on environment. So the then prime minister HD Deve Gowda granted special permission to let Sreedharan take charge as the DMRC head. The choice of the correct leader laid the foundation of DMRC's dream run.
Sreedharan also relied on a good team to translate his vision into reality: "I asked the government for two things - the independence to operate with no interference from politicians and bureaucrats. And the freedom to pick my own team."

Practice What You Preach
As the top boss, religiously follow the rules critical to establishing the company's values. Punctuality is DMRC's hallmark - trains roll into stations precisely by the minute, meetings start on schedule and employees must walk into the office before 9 am. "Our business is about being punctual. We cannot compromise on it," says Anuj Dayal, chief public relations officer, Delhi Metro. This is why, if an employee is five minutes late to work, it is clocked in as a half-day. The philosophy is: if you are late for office, you could be late for the project. Says Dayal: "Our trains are 99% punctual."
Sreedharan leads by example: he is never late for any commitment, at the work sites or at meetings. Speed is the buzzword. Decisions at DMRC are quick, with tenders as big as Rs 2,000 crore are cleared in 15-20 days without missing out on any government procedure or audit guidelines.

Seek Different Narratives
You can never pre-empt the company's problems by staying closeted in the corner office. Sreedharan ensures he is always in the loop of the goings on of the company. Every Monday, at 9.30 am, he holds weekly meetings attended by the four directors and 40-odd department heads. This is a freewheeling chat and the minutes of the meeting are not recorded. Sreedharan takes stock of the previous week's performance and sorts out glitches for the future. "We discuss everything here. That is one place I send my message to my people," he says. For ready reference, he always carries a small diary to take notes.
On the first Monday of every month, Sreedharan also holds a meeting with mid-level managers to get a broader sense of the issues and his employees. He is approachable for all and does not limit his interactions by hierarchy.

Challenge Yourself and the TeamStagnation sets in after efficiency so pull up goal posts and demand higher quality standards to force constant improvements. DMRC executives say every time their goal seems achievable and easy, Sreedharan throws up a surprise by setting a tighter deadline. He then works with his team to make it possible.
Sreedharan is humble, thrives on challenges and faces them head on. Recalls Rakesh Mehta, ex-chief secretary, Delhi government: "There was a Calcutta Bridge near ring road in Delhi that we wanted to widen. The project was awarded to a contractor. After spending Rs 10 crore over four years, he gave up in 2004 claiming it was logistically impossible. There was a drain pipe under the bridge and the contractor claimed the road couldn't be broadened without damaging the pipe."
Desperate, Mehta called Sreedharan for help. Within 24 hours, he visited the site with his engineers, redesigned the process, suggested minor modifications and the bridge was later completed within a year.

Keep the System Squeaky Clean
The message must go out loud and clear: integrity is priority and non-negotiable for the company. DMRC is perhaps the only mega infrastructure project of the country considered free from corruption taints. To achieve this, Sreedharan puts ethics high up on his goals list. He personally handpicked his team members in the initial years after lot of due diligence. Once on board, strong structures and procedures are in place for every activity - from tendering of contracts to recruitments - to keep employees on the ethical path.
To foster values, a copy of Makaranda Bhagwadgita is given to all employees when they join. "I do not consider it a religious text. It is an administrative gospel that teaches you how to face challenges and overcome them," says Sreedharan. All new DMRC staff also take an oath of integrity when they come on board.


Keep the To-do List Small
When the time period is short, prioritise to keep confusion out of execution. And don't pile your plate too high. In 1989, Sreedharan was appointed member, engineering, Railway Board for only 11 months. His ex-colleague, CBK Rao, now a senior adviser, ITNL Enso Rail Systems which is developing rapid metro rail in Gurgaon, recalls how Sreedharan picked only three goals for the stint: to reduce track fracture, improve quality of rails and their welding. As a result of his focus, in 11 months, there was spectacular progress on all three fronts, Rao recalls.

Think Bigger Than the Brief...
A bridge is just a bridge till you envision it as a state-of-the-art engineering wonder. Sreedharan always dreams big. "I have always aspired to get the best technology available in the world," he says as an example. This has translated into many technological firsts for Delhi Metro. For instance, it was the first in the world to use contactless smart card technology - where the machine could deduct fares from the smart card from a short distance.
To sustain this edge, employees at DMRC are encouraged to go abroad and understand new technologies. These tours are no holidays, says an official with the company. The trips are packed with meetings and appointments. As a result Delhi Metro keeps up with the latest trends in engineering.
"I can say we have got some of the best experts of the world in each category - from signalling to engineering - in my office today," says Sreedharan.

...And Beyond It
Be proactive and don't shy away from unconventional solutions as long as the problem is resolved. The focus must be getting past an obstacle. Here's how Sreedharan does it. In 2009, DMRC was building the Delhi-Gurgaon line which was to pass through some Chhatarpur farm houses. The owners took the matter to court and work was stopped. Realising that the legal wrangle will delay the project, Sreedharan got his engineers to build an entire station of pre-fabricated steel. Six months before the metro line was to be commissioned, DMRC won the case. Then the employees simply moved the steel box and erected the station - and met the deadline.

Gets up early at 4:30 am, completes morning chores and does yoga and meditation Office begins at 9 am. He is in by 8.30 am Leaves office early by 5.30 pm
Has tea with family and goes out for an hour of evening walk Retires by 10 pm.
Uses cellphone and computer sparingly
Doesn't carry work home.
And doesn't bother colleagues when they are home unless there is an emergency
Avoids socialising and late-night parties
Leisure? Attends, when time permits, classical music & dance recitals.

From Malaini Goyal, Economic Times.

A busy Saturday morning at St.Johns OPDept..

Were it not for St. Johns hospital, Koramangala, Bangalore would not have grown as an upmarket posh residential centre of Bangalore.

On an ordinary day more than 1500 outpatients are treated here, besides the 1300 in-house patients.

St johns has got almost all medical  specialisations and is a fave among the poor people of Bangalore and nearby places.  At rs. 40 for the first consultation visit of the month and rs. 25 thereafter for all visits in that month, this facility exists to serve the people of Bangalore.

Xray, MRI, blood tests come at cheap rates. In-patient costs are also low. With good safe parking facilities, a good canteen serving healthy food and lot of small stores selling fruits,eatables, sweets, tea, coffee,newspaper etc, it is a small township by itself.

Emergency appointments with doctors can be done with doctors at rs. 250 per visit at off time hours and for preferred visits.

This hospital is doing very great service to the society in bangalore and nearby places.

Location : Sarjapur Rd, Koramangala 2 Block, Koramangala, Bangalore, Karnataka,

The PSLV and RISAT I team leaders from ISRO

The PSLV C19 Project Director Kunhikrishnan P ( ext left) and RISAT 1 Project Director Dr Ms. Valarmati ( ext right) in this photoclip from The Hindu ..VSSC Director Veeraraghavan, ISRO Chairman S Radhakrishnan and Director, ISRO Satellite Centre, T K Alex are the others in the picture ..

The newsclip is here ..


Friday, April 27, 2012

Meet the Henry Ford of Heart Surgery, Dr Devi Shetty .. ..

Hands that serve are more sacred than the lips that pray - Mother Teresa
Much has been said and written of this great 58 year old young surgeon from Bangalore. There is a radiance emanating from his face which is so pure and sublime.

For long it has been said that Electronic City, Bangalore is just the headquarters of Infosys and houses some of the big names of the Fortune 500 companies of India and the world. More importantly, it has the biggest cardiac hospital in the country, if not in the world and also the  biggest 1500 bed cancer hospital in the country.

From an academic point of view, this is a write up on how process innovations can make a big difference than product innovations, especially in the healthcare service sector.

Meet the Henry Ford of Heart Surgery, Dr Devi Shetty of Narayana Hrudayalaya, Bangalore. Henry Ford brought mass production to the world with the Model T Ford car at the beginning of the 20 th century. Dr Devi Shetty is rewriting the history of cardiac surgeries by offering a case of the cardiac medical factory of the future here in Bangalore, offering cardiac surgeries at the lowest cost anywhere in the world, at quality better than the rest of the world .. Year after year, to the ire of his detractors, he continues to amaze the rest of the world with his simplicity and steadfast commitment to the cause of serving the medical field and the people of the world at large.

In 2011, they did almost 6600 heart surgeries,(highest in the world from a single facility) half on children (paediatric cases). It is the largest paediatric heart surgery hospital in the world. A heart surgery here costs just $ 1800 ( app INR 75,000), a fraction of what it costs elsewhere, app $40,000 - $100,000 for a complicated surgery.. Low-cost factory like innovation happening in the medical sector in India is sure to change the health scenario of the world in the coming years.

It is a service Factory .. Drive huge volumes and bring economies of scale .. They offer the best service in the world at a fraction of the cost to not only the rich, but also the needy in society, catering to the bottom of the pyramid ( as late Dr C K Prahlad used to address the 50 % of world population) who cannot afford costly surgeries but need help of modern medical science and surgery. A copy of an analysis of Dr Prahlad's BOP ( Bottom of Pyramid) theory in the Strategy and Business magazine.

Aravind Eye hospitals, Madurai does it with a missionary zeal, offering 90% of surgeries for free, while Narayana Hrudayalaya offers 5 % free.. Click for Arvind Hospital TED talk here ..

Even after doing all this good for society at cheap rates, Dr Shetty has reported profits of 7.7% after taxes, more than what US hospitals do at 6.9%. There is a big businessman also hiding in Dr Devi Shetty.

And if you thought quality is the casualty, consider this figure. The mortality rates within the first 30 days of a surgery is just 1.4% in Narayana Hrudayalaya compared to 1.9 % in US hospitals, according to data gathered by a group of Chicago based surgeons.

Paediatric heart surgery is many times more complicated than adult cardiology as the child heart is just one tenth of its original size and whatever is done on it has to factor in the growth to its full size. Also unlike other surgeries, heart cannot be bypassed till the wounds and sutures heal, it has to work the moment after the surgery, else the patient dies ..what complication ..!!

I have had the good opportunity of meeting up with Dr Shetty at one of the Rotary Club meetings of the Narayana Health City  which has besides this a 1500 bed cancer hospital, eye care hospital etc.. Working on 3-4 surgeries a day, for 6 days a week, day in day out, the hospital sees that he and his group of 40 surgeons are given less administrative work so that all his time can be productively used on surgeries and patient care. Making them do more at the same salary that they are paid !! A cost cutting measure ..

With an efficient CEO Raghuvanshi and a team of 40 surgeons, Narayana Hrudayalaya is not going to lose its prominence once PadmaShri Dr Devi Shetty puts up his shoes, though he continues to be its face to the outside world. The service has to continue for posterity and the model - service factory, churning out services at low factory costs and high quality, should be the model for many a hospital in the world to emulate.

Dr Shetty says that it was a chance encounter and a chance to treat Mother Teresa till her last breath while in Kolkata that changed his life for ever !

Matching Supply and demand :

Unless there is a constant stream of patients needing the surgeries, the Hospital cannot have volumes to slash down the costs. NH has partnered with Karnataka govt by offering Yashaswini Insurance scheme which enables farmers from different parts of Karnataka to get their medical treatment at NH.

A novel micro Insurance scheme called Yeshaswini with the partnership of govt for all farmers of the state where they pay just 44 cents as annual premium  for healthcare, attracts many a poor customer to Hrudayalaya.

It is indeed heartening to note that low-cost Innovation, ( Gandhian Innovation - doing more at less cost) in the medical field too is now being driven from India ..

NH gives heavy competition to the cut-throat corporate hospitals in the country like Fortis, Apollo, Manipal a run for their money. They charge anywhere from 2.5 - 3 lakhs INR for a surgery and do just about half as much surgeries every year as Narayana Hrudayalaya does..

"Scaling operations (to reduce costs) and maintaining quality" is the crux of operations ..

There is a difference between philanthropy and squeezing the common man .. Even now only less than 10% of Indian population can afford a heart surgery .. Imagine the potential if costs are lowered even further .. ..

Here is Dr Devi Shetty at a TED talk in Mumbai ..

Here are some good articles I have compiled from the Internet for the readers.  The first and second ones are definitely the best !!

6. BBC calls it the "Production Line Heart Surgery" -

(photo cortesy and Wharton Business School, UPenn.)

Earth barraged by asteroid belt 4,2 billion to 3.5 billion years ago ..

New evidence points to lot of present day minerals on earth having come from the barrage of an asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter that rearranged itself, and hit the earth for 700 million years, from 3,5 billion to 4.2 billion years ago, of sizes ranging upto 21 miles wide.. The time periods and the durations are mind boggling, just beyond human comprehension or grasp ..

 The last recorded barrage about 65 million years ago wiped out Dinosaurus from Earth, the largest of the asteroids about 9 miles wide.. 

Where is man, where is nature and Universe, where is our understanding of what holds the Universe together ? 

Is our concept of the dimension of time in the dimensions of Mass, length and time (MLT), inconsequential and so negligible in the Universal concept of time? What is the role of human in this vastness of time ?


Thursday, April 26, 2012

Kunhikrishnan does it yet again ..

In style and makes a statement that India is a dependable and powerful space power by launching India's first spy satellite RISAT 1 from Sriharikotta on PSLV as its Project Director.

This is Kunhikrishnan's sixth successful PSLV stint as Project Director and all six were successful !!

Congrats kunhi ..


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Kunhikrishnan's PSLV C19 with RISAT 1. ..

PSLV C19 is getting ready for yet another successful launch on thursday april 26, 05.47 IST with a totally indigenous payload, remote imaging satellite RISAT 1.

All good wishes to the man-in-control, project director cet86ite Kunhikrishnan from all his friends from all parts of the world... ....

We know kunhikrishnan and his team will take india to great heights ...


Monday, April 23, 2012

Dolphins die on Chilean beach ..

In this April 6, 2012 photo, officials stand next to dolphin carcasses on the shore of Pimentel Beach in Chiclayo, Peru. Scientists and Peruvian officials are investigating a mass die-off of hundreds  

Experts measure a dead dolphin on a beach on the northern coast of Peru, close to Chiclayo on April 11 

 April 6, 2012 photo, officials stand next to dolphin carcasses on the shore of Pimentel Beach in Chiclayo, Peru. Scientists and Peruvian officials are investigating a mass die-off of hundreds of dolphins along the South American country's coast. 

Courtesy Associated Press..


Sunday, April 22, 2012

Moving to Social / digital / additive Manufacturing ..

18  th century saw the Industrial revolution starting with the craft manufacturing where each item was crafted either by machine or manually with tools to great precision in textile industry and then spreading to locomotion like steam engine, motor cars , mining etc..

19 th century saw mass manufacturing with Ford's Model T and he wide use of computers in design and manufacturing ..

21 st century is seeing more of additive manufacturing, personalised, low setup times and costs. Digital manufacturing is more personalised and is marking a full circle of the shift in manufacturing from West to East and now going back to the west ..

Economist gives a very good update on this manufacturing trend happening ..

Will this signal end of China and India in the manufacturing race ? The pressure on numbers will still keep the two giants chugging along ..


Friday, April 20, 2012

Meet India's Agni Putri, yet again ..

The 48 year old Dr Tessy Thomas, Project Director for Agni V and Agni IV and an expert on solid propellant systems, is the first woman scientist to head such an important mission in India and is a role model to all women in the country, as this video demonstrates ..!

Hailing from Alleppey, she completed her B Tech from Govt Engg College Trichur in Electrical Engg in 1985 and M Tech from  the Defence Institute of Advanced Technology before joining DRDO in 1988.

CET86ite, Kunhikrishnan, Project Director of ISRO's successful 5 PSLV missions now has more than a match .. !!


Thursday, April 19, 2012

India's gamechanger .. a moment of glory for DRDO ..

India has this morning successfully fired its first long-range Inter Continental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) Agni V from Wheeler Island off Odisha coast with a range of upto 6000 kms, (half of what China can) and joins the group of US, Russia, China and France as the only countries of the world possessing this technology.

India is not just a land of snake charmers, rishis and software programmers, but also one of brilliant scientists who can challenge any body else from any part of the world and deliver ..

Can anyone of our friends from DRDO on this mailing list give their opinion ? Ajith from Mech ?? A match with the DongFeng V ?


Monday, April 16, 2012

Understanding the case method .. Student read ..

Understanding the Case Method

The case method is a popular way of teaching at b-schools, though the degree to which they use it can vary.  B-schools like Harvard Business School and University of Virginia's Darden School of Business in the US,Richard Ivey Business School in Canada and IE in Spain are known for their case method pedagogy and use it as their predominant mode of teaching. At HBS and Darden, students go through more than 500 cases during the 2 year Full time MBA.

These b-schools are committed to conducting extensive research and have built exhaustive cases database. While HBS has a 13,000+ strong cases repository, Richard Ivey's Ivey Publishing adds a whopping 250+ cases to its 8000 strong database every year.

 So, what sets their teaching methods apart? Unlike in the lecture based teaching which is faculty led, in a case study, the entire class participates. Cases are based on real world business problems faced by real companies. Students are expected to step into the managers' shoes and use their analytical, decision-making and communication skills to arrive at possible solutions.

 Darden Student Anand Rao (2009) blogs that case method should be looked at, "as a three stage process. First 'prepare', second 'participate and engage' and third 'reflect'. Case-method will only be effective when one chooses to actively participate in the conversation."

Class participation is vital to leading a case discussion successfully. At HBS, 50% of a student's grades for many courses are based on the quality of class participation.  The class size is kept large at 90 students, to make it conducive to discussing cases at an exhaustive length. Additionally, unlike in some other b-schools, students can not waive core classes, even if they have studied the course in undergrad. The advantage is that they benefit the entire class with their perspectives on the case and therefore make the discussion richer and livelier.

At Darden, students are grouped in learning teams of 5-6, based on their diversity. After spending time on cases individually, the learning teams get together to discuss the case for class-discussion. By the time students are in the class, they have individually identified problems, analyzed data and outlined action points and refined their ideas through team discussion. In the classroom, the professor opens the discussion by "cold calling" any one student- asking her/him to lead the discussion for that case. This builds pressure on the students to come prepared to class and gives them a great opportunity to lead a real business like situation. 

Diversity of the class incredibly helps in adding depth to the discussion. Most US b-schools have a 30-35% international class-composition, while it is 90% at IE. International students because of their experiences in varied settings, can bring out entirely new perspectives to the case discussion.

The real learning takes place when students are willing to listen to others' perspectives and are flexible enough to adapt to others' points of view.  Compared to the faculty-focused, lecture based study,students become equal contributors in each other's learning, and the faculty takes on the role of a facilitator in this process.

Detractors of the case method feel that with the focus shifting to student-based learning, there is less learning from professors. However, this does not undermine the professor's role in ensuring a successful case discussion. They are like directors of a theatrical production and the class, their stage.  Other than planning on the case to discuss a particular concept, the faculty steer the direction of the discussion by asking thought provoking questions and promoting debate, while managing the allotted time for a logical conclusion.   They can also make the class more interactive through role play- students are assigned roles of stakeholders within the case study and are encouraged to think and communicate like them.

Additionally, faculty can ensure added depth by letting students who have the industry/market perspective or have been in a similar situation in a different environment, a chance to speak. At HBS, faculty use class cards – background descriptions of every student- to get them to chip in at crucial moments.

The most engaging  case studies are the ones that are followed by debates much after the class is over– this could also last upto weeks – these are a definite high point for any professor. Therefore, reflection on the case is as important and the insights can prepare students to tackle similar situations in the future.

The case method is an excellent platform to develop skills like dealing with ambiguity, analyzing the same problem with different outlooks, and taking a stand in tough situations. The learning team/ study group model enhances team building and communication skills – all of these skills are required by managers of tomorrow.

For those who have experienced the case method, there could be no other way to learn.

Participating in Class Discussion of a Case Analysis: (

 Classroom discussions of cases are sharply different from attending a lecture class. In a case class students do most of the talking. The instructor's role is to solicit student participation, keep the discussion on track, ask "Why?" often, offer alternative views, play the devil's advocate (if no students jump in to offer opposing views), and otherwise lead the discussion. The students in the class carry the burden for analyzing the situation and for being prepared to present and defend their diagnoses and recommendations. Expect a classroom environment, therefore, that calls for your size-up of the situation, your analysis, what actions you would take, and why you would take them. Do not be dismayed if, as the class discussion unfolds, some insightful things are said by your fellow classmates that you did not think of. It is normal for views and analyses to differ and for the comments of others in the class to expand your own thinking about the case. As the old adage goes, "Two heads are better than one." So it is to be expected that the class as a whole will do a more penetrating and searching job of case analysis than will any one person working alone. This is the power of group effort, and its virtues are that it will help you see more analytical applications, let you test your analyses and judgments against those of your peers, and force you to wrestle with differences of opinion and approaches.

To orient you to the classroom environment on the days a case discussion is scheduled, we compiled the following list of things to expect:

  • Expect students to dominate the discussion and do most of the talking. The case method enlists a maximum of individual participation in class discussion. It is not enough to be present as a silent observer; if every student took this approach, there would be no discussion. (Thus, expect aportion of your grade to be based on your participation in case discussions.)
  • Expect the instructor to assume the role of extensive questioner and listener.
  • Be prepared for the instructor to probe for reasons and supporting analysis.
  • Expect and tolerate challenges to the views expressed. All students haveto be willing to submit their conclusions for scrutiny and rebuttal. Eachstudent needs to learn to state his or her views without fear of disapproval and to overcome the hesitation of speaking out. Learning respect for the views and approaches of others is an integral part of case analysis exercises. But there are times when it is OK to swim against the tide of majority opinion. In the practice of management, there is always room for originality and unorthodox approaches. So while discussion of a case is a group process, there is no compulsion for you or anyone else to cave in and conform to group opinions and group consensus.
  • Don't be surprised if you change your mind about some things as the discussion unfolds. Be alert to how these changes affect your analysis and recommendations (in the event you get called on).
  • Expect to learn a lot from each case discussion; use what you learned to be better prepared for the next case discussion.

There are several things you can do on your own to be good and look good as a participant in class discussions:

  • Although you should do your own independent work and independent thinking, don't hesitate before (and after) class to discuss the case with other students. In real life, managers often discuss the company's problems and situation with other people to refine their own thinking.
  • In participating in the discussion, make a conscious effort to contribute, rather than just talk. There is a big difference between saying something that builds the discussion and offering a long-winded, off-the-cuff remark that leaves the class wondering what the point was.
  • Avoid the use of "I think," "I believe," and "I feel"; instead, say, "My analysis shows " and "The company should dobecause " Always give supporting reasons and evidence for your views; then your instructor won't have to ask you "Why?" every time you make a comment.
  • In making your points, assume that everyone has read the case and knows what it says; avoid reciting and rehashing information in the caseinstead, use the data and information to explain your assessment of the situation and to support your position.
  • Bring the printouts of the work you've done on Strat-Tutor or the notes you've prepared (usually two or three pages' worth) to class and rely on them extensively when you speak. There's no way you can remember everything off the top of your headespecially the results of your number crunching. To reel off the numbers or to present all five reasons why, instead of one, you will need good notes. When you have prepared thoughtful answers to the study questions and use them as the basis for your comments, everybody in the room will know you are well prepared, and your contribution to the case discussion will stand out.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Watch the smart bird robot fly - TED talk ..

Sit back and enjoy .. 2011 demo ..


On destroying the native culture preserved by Red Indians for centuries by the Invaders ....

In one of our discussions on how the invaders, immigrants from Europe destroyed the native culture and history preserved by Red Indians of centuries in North America, I am quoting some of the points of discussion I put up ..

there is a limit to ridiculing the most powerful country with a glorious history of "200 years ..!!", whatever _____ing and raping of natives and the original owners of the land, they have Tresorted to in all these glorious "200 years " ...

God never told that one cannot _____ natives of a land where one forcibly enters, grabs land and dispossesses the original owners of the land .. If ever there was one .. !

Nobody would be surprised if posterity, one day, calls these invaders and their land as the  "______ing States of America .."

Also we need to differentiate between these immigrants from Europe and the later Asian immigrants of 30 - 40 years ..

And they call themselves the GREATEST DEMOCRACY OF THE WORLD ... and how ironical, the concepts of modern democracy could come from this land .. Liberty was the greatest joke, crushing the rights of a native populace to govern themselves ..

Finally I leave you with this quote .. : ( food for thought ..)

I like to see a man proud of the place in which he lives.  I like to see a man live so that his place will be proud of him.  ~Abraham Lincoln

This hypocrisy, deceit and chicanery on the native people of US, by the invaders, will come back to haunt the so-called Greatest Democracy of the world which will collapse like a pack of cards .. That is the rule of nature, Science says it is the cause and effect. Truth evolves on its own .. The ultimate truth. 

"To sin by silence when they should protest, makes cowards of men." - Abraham Lincoln ..

As per my earliest quote from Abraham Lincoln, we still have to see whether US is cultivating cowards or brave men with loads of courage and integrity. 

The reservation policy for the backward castes and untouchables in India , gradually increasing and now almost 50%, is among the largest in the world. We have one of the most backward caste friendly afirmative actions in the world. Even the forward castes are vying to be assured of an affirmative action for them.. This policy is there for the past 65 years .. 1980 Mandal Commission report was another watershed affirmative action and reinforcement to support the under privileged in society.

If a country as a whole closes its eyes on atrocities committed on native population 200 - 300 years back, occasionally reminded by Thanksgiving etc.. , can the guilt be washed away ? You may not give a damn to it now, but the eternal truth will haunt the community till it is wiped out ....

I have seen so many instances of the rascality of mankind, that I am convinced that the only way to make them honest, is to prevent their being otherwise." George Washington

I am leaving you with another quote ..

If you have integrity, nothing else matters.  If you don't have integrity, nothing else matters.  ~Alan Simpson

For a nation founded on inequity, exploitation and rascality, nothing else matters, just swim with the tide.. some time, some where, some place you will reach some shore .. Good Luck ..!!


Thursday, April 12, 2012

Beypore fort ... Takes us to the Silk Route of 2000 years back .. and the Uru ..

A Beypore Uru, sailboat, in the making .. courtesy The Hindu.
The traders from Persia came with pearls via land(since their merchandise was not of much bulk), purchased spices and other goods in Kerala and got made boats with wind sails and took their merchandise back via the sea route. I have visited the place in Beypore where these sail boats used to be made(they are called "Machuva" in malayalam). 

These boats are wonderful crafts made by tying together plates of wood; Coir is used to bind the pieces together. In recent times the craft picked up again when rich arabs started using these boats as a status symbol and started using them as yachts(of course by fitting them with motors). Then these craftsmen were bought en-mass and taken to Dubai and they started making the boats there. But now I heard the craftsmen have come back to Beypore. 

The place where these boats are made is a beautiful point; it is made at the estuary of Beypore puzha. There is a light house across on the opposite side(btw the opposite bank is called Chaliyar) . When the fresh water from the river pushes out to the sea we get to see the formation of a lot of silver crested waves way  out into the sea. (courtesy Rajesh KTS, CET86)

A terrific blog by Purnima Ranganath of Bangalore taking us through the North of Kerala historical sites .. Special mention of Beypore ..

Another blog of Beypore by  malayali from Dubai .

Another blog on Beypore ..

Another blog giving info on uru and boats from different parts of the world including Egypt, Babylon and Thor Heyerdahl's experiments..


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Fundamentals of Industry analysis ..

A very good document .. 


Did R K Raghavan make a mockery of the judicial system in the country by acquitting all 58 ??

I was under the impression that former CBI Director R K Raghavan was a decent and straightforward officer, else why should the Supreme Court keep him in charge of the Special Investigative Team to probe the Gulbarg Housing Society massacre case of the Godhra communal carnage in 2002 ?

His closure report acquitting all the 58 accused of killing the inmates of Gulbarg Housing Society in Ahmedabad, including Congress MP Ehsan Jafri, in the communal frenzy of 2002, has shattered the dreams of millions of Indians like me. This report will not go smoothly with the SC. It will be challenged by Ms Zakia Jafri, widow of Ehsan.

The Amicus Curae appointed by the SC, Adv Raju Ramachandran has filed a different report with the SC , which as per already hotly discussed media reports, does not absolve Modi of complicity in the killing of Ehsan.

This case is turning more interesting and is catching all attention with lot of contradictory, partial verdicts and reports coming out of court and SIT and the affected crying foul at the shabby treatment meted out to them by the establishment meant to protect human lives and respect of the individuals..

It was the same R K Raghavan who exonerated former Punjab DIG SP Rathore in the now infamous Ruchika molestation case, which then was handled by a different setup which finally could indict Rathore.

Is Raghavan such a retd. police officer who could not differentiate the finer nuances of legal issues and compromised on his personal integrity, subjecting himself to such ridicule from the common man in the country ? The whole world knows like broad daylight who was responsible for fanning discontent and communal ire and tensions in Gujarat which resulted in the genocide of  innocents ..


Specific Absorption rates for mobile phones.. worst players ..

Motorola, Blackberry, Sony Ericsson and Karbonn are the top offenders in terms of energy absorbed by human body from radio frequency electromagnetic field, measured in terms of Specific Absorption rate.

Specific Absorption Rate (SAR)  is a measure of the rate at which energy is absorbed by the body when exposed to a radio frequency (RF)electromagnetic field; It is defined as the power absorbed per mass of tissue and has units of watts per kilogram (W/kg).  , this link tells us that most of the mobile phones are below the FCC recommended 2W/kg body mass upper energy absorption limit, though Motorola, Blackberry and Sony Ericsson are at SAR of 1.58 to 1.0, Nokia and Samsung are below 0.5 W/kg. Specific values of SAR, for different phones are given in the chart at the wikipedia link above, tested by approved vendors and put up for public scrutiny ..

This document from FCC (Federal Communications Commission of the US govt tells what to actually look for ..

What to be worried and what not ..


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Silk route, Spice route of 200 BC and Information Route 2000 AD .

Let us get to know some very old history of the world because it tells us what our forefathers did for a living and how enterprising they were, and how better and smarter we need to work to keep up with their ingenuity.

The National Geographic Genographic Project tells us about our ancestry and where we all came from. By now it is known that all human beings around the world came out of the eastern coast of Africa ( the cradle of human civilization) about 55,000 - 60,000 years back, ie. roughly 2400 generations back. 

Pictured above is the spice and silk route of 200 BC. Remember during that time there were nothing like motor cars, airplanes, locomotives, telecommunication channels, proper medical care, proper educational opportunities or the Internet .. Yet trade prospered .. The main routes were the silk route and spice route.

The red route is the land route and blue, the sea route, routes superimposed on a NASA image of the world... Global trade happened along this route till 1200 AD where countries and traders made wealth and had cultural intercourse with the different peoples of the world. This is also the time when trade prospered in Kerala, Gujarat, Chennai, Calcutta and parts of South East Asia..

Interesting to know the parts of the world which had some semblance of trade and development were Asia, North  and East of Africa and South Europe, around 200 BC. The rest of the world was a big zero ..!! Interestingly, this was also the route taken by Alexander the Great before he succumbed to his own fame and died like a dog back in Greece after causing untold misery to the people along half this route from Greece to Pakistan ..

Extending for 6500 kms and spread over the Eurasian African landmass, the route was the main trade route for all goods and cultural trade in the ancient world ..

Now the silk route has given way to the Information Route which centres around America-Europe and Asia .. If silk, spices,persian carpets, ivory and tea were the catalysts for earliest trade in the world, modern day catalysts are Information, technology, globalisation and the Internet ..

It is improper guidance and understanding of the glorious history of our motherland which makes many of us discontent and sceptical of a bright future for our country and seek mirage-like greener pastures elsewhere ..

If civilization is to survive, we must cultivate the science of human relationships - the ability of all peoples, of all kinds, to live together, in the same world at peace.
Franklin D. Roosevelt
"If civilization is to survive, we must cultivate the science of human relationships - the ability of all peoples, of all kinds, to live together in the same world at peace " - Franklin D. Roosevelt.
george ..

Who wants to defame the Indian Defence establishment ?

Every day we read reports in the papers highlighting the defence unpreparedness and corruption at high places in defence establishments, of top officers playing hands in glove with politicians and corrupt bureaucrats, trying to claim for themselves, real estate for the war widows and so on.

We also hear of corruption in truck deals, how the army has been procuring trucks from a private source than from the company straightaway. Also the other day we heard of an attempt to tarnish the image of the present Army Chief, that the Indian army moved from the North to Delhi , purportedly to tighten its grip on the political establishment, rumours of a coup ?? 

The low level of preparedness in tank armoury that came up yesterday, again is an attempt to tarnish the image of the Army. Who is interested in throwing muck at Gen  V K Singh just one month before he puts in his papers ?

Who is behind all this ? Not directly,  the army officers, politicians or bureaucrats.

It is the strong arms lobby, who are feeling the pressure of being sidelined and losing lucrative contracts and big money in the process. Is it their ploy to create maximum confusion, in the process lose the common man's confidence in the forces and fish in murky waters ..

Defence Minister Antony having already started investigations into the Tatra trucks deal , four months back, pointing fingers at corrupt elements among top officers of the defence, with bureaucrats and politicians, is sure to expose the muck..

Let us hope in the coming days, vested interests interested in tarnishing our defence forces get exposed. Indian army, being the largest importer of defence items this year, should be able to procure the right competitive hardware at the right time and cost from the right manufacturer, and raise our level of preparedness to meet any external threat. By improving the level of accountability and to fix responsibility for any procurement delay on authorities, the top defence officers and bureaucrats, never again let us hear of the 3 % preparedness to meet an enemy threat anymore.

Banish all middlemen and arms trade mafia and bring a sense of confidence in the Indian public that his/her TAX money does not get drained on useless projects and purchases, filling the pockets of arms contracts and corrupt elements in the forces and govt.

Will the govt listen to the voice of the common man ?? The largest unproductive expenditure of the Indian govt, to raise our defence capability, should not be a laughing stock for other countries of the world.


A carefree man regarding ATM and bank frauds ..

Cause I have the barest minimum in my accounts, everyday is a fight for survival ..


Sunday, April 08, 2012

Aravind Eye Hospital, IIMA case study ..

some viewing and reading material on Aravind Eye Hospital, Madurai ..

TED Video

Aravind Eye Hospital, IIMA Case study link ..

Harvard Business Review case study and other important cases on the Aravind model of eye care ..


Top Indians in Obama admin .. Dr Gururaj Deshpande and Dr Arun Majumdar ..

Many Indians have been contributing to the growth and greatness of United States in no small way over the years. In what is tabbed as the second largest immigration of Indians from their homeland from early sixties and still continuing, (the first being the export of labourers to the tea and coffee estates on West Indies and Africa, just a hundred years earlier), Indians have earned the respect of their employers and the adopted community with their hardwork, enterprise and zeal for life !!

It is also a continuing and glowing example of the contributions made by Indian community and Indian Technological Institutes to further US interests to remain at the forefront in cutting edges in research and technology. These Indians have been providing US with the necessary innovation and cutting edge R&D technology which helped and continues to help US stay ahead of other countries of the world in the areas of knowledge ...

Dr Arun Majumdar, an IITB alumnus, '85, completed his PhD from Uty of Claifornia, Berkeley is undoubtedly one of the top alumni from IITB over the years.

Dr. Arun was the topper in Mechanical Engineering from IITB '85 and was awarded the distinguished alumnus award by IITB in 2003. Presently decorating the post of US Under Secretary of Energy, Dr Arun will contribute in a great way to the US dominance in the energy area in the years to come.

In my opinion, Dr. Gururaj Deshpande (IIT Chennai '73) and Dr. Arun Majumdar (IIT Bombay '85) are the two top placed Indian-born and Indian-trained policy makers in the Obama administration holding top, respected positions, as the Co-Chairmanship of the National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship, ) and US Under Secretary of Energy respectively.


Silk route, 200 BC and Information Route 2000 AD .

The red route is the land route and blue, the sea route..

Interesting to know the parts of the world which had some semblance of trade and development were in Asia, North  and East of Africa and South Europe, around 200 BC.

Extending for 6500 kms and spread over the Eurasian African landmass, the route was the main trade route for all goods and cultural trade in the ancient world ..

Now the silk route has given way to the Information Route which centres around America-Europe and Asia .. If silk was the catalyst for earliest trade in the world, modern day trade is centred around Information.


Thursday, April 05, 2012

Adarsh effect, Mantralaya in Mumbai at a standstill ..

yesterday was a great day in Indian legal circles and in the fight against corruption at high places .. The common man finally feels something is happening to save selfish people from raping his country ..

With 2 senior IAS officers, Phatak and retired IAS officer Tiwari, being arrested by CBI and in police custody till April 18, all corrupt IAS officers are shivering down their spines and shitting in their pants.. Hope they will mend their wayward ways.. Citizens have started questioning your irresponsible actions and orders .. The free, arbitrary and corrupt orders they used to pass against the interest of the citizen and against good governance, will now be reverted.

The CBI which was under pressure to dilly dally the case and let the influential bigwigs scape had to hurry with the proceedings when mumbai High Court asked the CBI to report to it regarding the progress in the case. It shows how CBI is also influenced in this case. Instead of doing their job forthright without any fear or favour, they are  misleading the court and the citizens of the country.

With two retd Major Gen and a retired Brigadier in judicial custody along with these two very senior IAS babus in CBI custody, whose sons were allocated flats in the Adarsh complex, the noose is tightening. Even though everyone is passing the buck on the other, the army and naval officers on the govt, IAS officers on the govt, the govt on the IAS officers and the navy, the plot is getting clearer day by day. Whoever have managed to get a flat either free or  at a low cost in the Adarsh complex meant for Kargil war widows, cannot run away from complicity in this case..

Finally truth will chase the accused .. Let this be a warning from the people and the CBI to all corrupt Babus, you and your family members will not be left free, we will trace you to your grave.. Beware .. Really feeling good for Jairam Ramesh, the former Minister in charge who had threatened that he would demolish Adarsh complex, were it not for him acting freely, also thanks to Dr Manmohan Singh for giving a free hand to the CBI, this case would not have come to this stage.. The fight against corruption and greed of the corrupt high officials and politicians in this country is a continuing affair, never ending, with new scams surfacing daily..

Will our people never learn to think kind and considerate of the society and his fellow beings , fortunate and less fortunate ..?? Why is it that in spite of being a so called highly spiritual country with loads of legacy and culture of thousands of years, we are still the most selfish, greedy community in the world ?


How the East is now looting the west ..

US and is colonial cousins have come to understand the repurcussions of their past actions where they have robbed countries of Asia and the East of their traditional knowledge and treasures.

This action is just tit for tat .. Newtons third law, every action has an equal and opposite reaction..

The battle is now not between armies and navies of countries, not of how much air power one can boast of .. it is between the brains of countries.. It is soft battle and not hard battle..

Let US realise this truth and tighten up its waist and do something to prevent this reverse flow of knowledge and wealth  ( ALSO OF PROFESSIONALS WITH NO SELF RESPECT AND LOVE FOR THEIR HOMELAND..!!).

It will help prevent any furtherloot of the East by the Westa and vice-versa ..


Data Visualisation Presentation..

Dr. Sukanya explaining the finer aspects of Data Visualisation in R Today 19 July 2019, Business school and Engineering school of Alli...

My popular posts over the last month ..