Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Owned vs rented car

People generally assume that car rental is very expensive and owning a car is cheaper. Here is a sample analysis for the same,

Assuming Car Value = 5 lacs

Expense Per month
Interest = 4000
Depreciation = 6000 (for first yr)
Insurance = 1000
Maintenance =1000
Driver = 8000

Lets assume 1000 km a month and average of 15
Petrol = 4500

Total expense for 1000 Km for a month = 24500. i.e. 24.5 Rs/Km

Most radio cabs charge from 15-20 Rs per KM. So it isn't really a bad deal.

However your own car offers a huge convenience of using it anytime at a moments notice and personalization. 

The baggage problem

It takes time to understand that its best practice to NOT keep a baggage on you when you have a fight or altercation with someone. Such baggage only increase with time and the burden is always increasing. One also then tends to make a perception which then influences any further interactions. We need to think if it is worth it? Isn't it much easier to try and get off the load and move much faster ahead happily? When you start keeping baggage's, people also start to keep theirs, and  then others interact with one another, collating their bad experiences making a harder perception against you and you end up more and more isolated.

Instead of carrying bad memories it is always better to carry the good ones. It helps to take the lesson from bad ones so as to prevent it later. Also we have a fixed memory bank, why should we then spend on things we don't like? Why can't we make life simpler?

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

India without Gandhi

We were taught in school that India got independence because of Mahatma Gandhi. Is it really true? What would India have been without Gandhi? I am not trying to say he was not a great leader, but his leadership and politics of congress split India and Pakistan, and the effect of that is for the generations to follow.

Most of the british colonies started to gain independence after the second world war ended in 1945. There was great devastation after the second world war and ruling over the colonies had become very tough. With congress we had an elitist class coming to rule over India. So from the Queen in England we had the local Kings now. And now we have the Nehru family rule over India from one generation to another. Will this change for India? I don't think so. There are two things that need to be done for India to progress, greater education and stronger judiciary. In all our 60 yrs of independence we have greatly failed in both. It has actually gone worst as education has become privatized with very low quality, and people have become smarter in exploiting the judiciary.

I am presently shocked by how the graduate engineers don't know the engineering basics but still manage to score 70%+. And how the MBA's of today cannot answer basic practical management questions. Education has become a business with very low standards.

Our media which used to be very powerful before and even after independence has increasingly also become a business. Media has stopped asking hard questions. People like Kapil Sibbal can publicly say that 2g was no loss to India and still get away with it and even continue as the telecom minister.

Lokpal and corruption has become a big news of the day, however lets stop for a moment and think how much are we all also to blame for corruption. How many times did we bribe to make our life easy. Even those who take bribe are our near and dear ones, but do we question them? I have seen people defending corruption and also proud about how much money they are making by it. They justify themselves by pointing to a bigger thief and saying they just make a little. Humans have an excellent knack to justify anything.

There are some fundamental problems in the Indian system, and people need to focus on them to fix the things for good. However most people think that it not their problem and they cannot do anything about it. But its only when we all will change and do something the change will come......

Credit score

I decided to get my credit report from CIBIL to see my details and the score. I was expecting it to be very good, but was surprised on getting it. There was lot of old information with CIBIL. lot of contact information was incorrect, the problem, when the agents just make you fill the form and fill your form with wrong spellings. I will try and get it corrected so that in future when i try to get some credit i do not face a problem.

American Express bank reported a delayed payment when there was none, now have raised a dispute for that. We need to have a system where the banks are penalized for giving wrong information to CIBIL.

Also now need to think if i should close some of the credit cards which i do not use, it should improve the credit score. 

Monday, August 15, 2011

electricity woes of India

In India even after 65 years of independence the nation struggles with electricity. There are power cuts in all major cities. In small towns the electricity is there for 12-14 hrs, and as the towns get smaller, the electricity time gets shorter.

Here are some of the reasons which I think contribute for the same -
  1. Free electricity which government provides to farmers - No/less electricity solves this problem. The government does not want to educate people, that they have to pay if they for electricity. Government just thinks of votes and promises free electricity.
  2. Transmission losses - There is lot of electricity theft, thanks to corruption and hunger for votes. Additionally we have invested little to reduce this.
  3. Bad planning - The general answer of the government is it takes time for electricity planning and implementation. Is 65 yrs not enough? For most of this time only 1 political party/family has been in power.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Killing in Norway vs India

Recently in a terrorist attack by a fundamentalist in Norway, more than 80 people died. The response of the politicians there was quite different to the response that our politicians gave when people recently died in Mumbai bomb blast. Nobody offered excuses in Norway, and they were sad. In India, our politicians were found to be proud in the fact that we had 31 months without any blasts.

These 2 incidents happened very close, and the stark difference in reaction by 2 governments is something we all need to notice.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Safari Vs Scorpio

This question still comes up to me many times. Now with almost 4 yrs of safari ownership, i wanted to pen down the response.

I loved the refinement in engine in  Scorpio when i first took a test drive. Also Mahindra has a good reputation with jeep/diesel engines. What however made me buy a safari were 2 major points -

1. Safari base version was about 1 lac cheaper and more loaded.
2. Safari seating comfort and middle row are much better than Scorpio.

Safari has its issues with engine stuff and occasional undiagnosed engine behavior and weird noises. However when i bought they were offering 4 yrs extended warranty, which assured me that i would not be bearing high costs of maintenance. However now that warranty is expiring and i am a little worried. To give credit, safari has not given me much troubles in last 1-2 yrs. The initial time was a little bad, probably as they had launched the 2.2 VTT engine only then, and did not know of the issues. But now this engine is almost 4+ yrs old, and lot more improved in terms of components.'

My ownership review and experience till now can be read at Team-BHP.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Parkland hotel membership

Last year I decided to enroll in the parkland resort membership. The offer was fine, for around 5k, they were offering the vouchers for room nights, cakes and wines.

Their  restaurant Delhi masala in green park property is good, but only issue is it is v small and barely enough for the hotel crowd. So, if you want to book a table it's never done. There is lot of wait on weekends.

Another restaurant is grapes in Safadarjung enclave. The restaurant is fine but quite expensive. The experience was fine, but nothing great. The cake is available only at this place.

When i went to book rooms, the whole issue started. The reservation desk number is almost never picked up. I tried talking to the person who had sold me the membership, but he also started sounding dicey. Finally whole year passed and I was unable to book the rooms. Now that my membership is up for renewal, i am being asked to renew, and promised the nights which are already expired.

A very sorry experience. I hope in all the zeal of marketing, they think about customers and forging long term relationships.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Theory X and theory Y

Theory X and theory Y - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

I still find many companies and people still rooted in theory X. I am a strong believer in theory Y. I have seen people work exceptionally well and teams deliver some great work. However there are some people who are exceptions, and they need to be weeded out instead of managers or management to move to theory X.

Theory X does not look democratic to me and does not look suitable for the knowledge industry. You cannot force people to do mind work force-ably or with fear. Force or fear may sometimes be the negative motivators that may have to be used, but it should be the last resort.

What do other feel?

Monday, June 13, 2011

E post office

e Post Office

I used epost office now 2 times to buy stamps to add my philately collection. The service has been prompt. The only disappointment has been that the range is very less. Loads of stamps are published, but only very few are there to buy. Also no first day covers and other collectibles are available.

Like all government initiatives, it looks like started with good intent, however it will not carry long. Or it wont ever reach the exact zenith that is should and could reach. I tried emailing to the 2 email id's that i could find on the site, however both of them bounced back.

However still i hope that this initiative does not die off and i can continue adding new stamps to my collection. I was able to buy some really nice stamps from the site.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Cross browser compatibility

Many people often ask me to have the website tested on all browsers and all versions to ensure all of the users of any of the browsers have a good experience of the site. The only problem with this approach is that the effort taken is very high, and new browser versions almost come our every few weeks.

The best way to ensure cross browser compatibility is to ensure that your HTML and CSS is validated and follows the specifications. The JS should be clean.

More suggestions?

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Unionism in Kashmir

On my recent trip to Srinagar and around saw how tourists are treated as golden geese by the locals. The people have started to assume that tourists have the responsibility to feed their families, so whatever they do to tourists is justified.

In gulmarg the pony wala's will jump on your car and driver as soon as you enter gulmarg. Your car is stopped about 1.5 Km before the gondola, and from then you are forced to either walk or hire a pony to gondola. My biggest challenge was that my mother has had a knee replacement operation and cannot sit on the horse. But the locals just don't care. On my way back from gondola, I hired a pony, however these ponies are ill maintained by thier owners, and the pony my dad was on, started to panic, and I had to hurriedly get my dad off the pony for his safety. The local police is completely missing.

The ticketing for gondola is also messy, the guides/pony men, just hog the window. 2 men are in the queue and then 6 just join them. The gondola tickets are decently priced, with Rs. 350 for first stage and another rs 500 for reaching the 2nd phase, However no facilities are provided, like clean toilets. With the rush that was there  I am sure the gondola is making huge money, however there is very little thrust to provide the facilities to the tourists. The people just hog you on gondola to take the sledge/ski's. They charge high, also bargain high. However the relaxed atmosphere for which you go to such a place, is not what you experience. You feel like honey, and all the fly's buzz around you..

Same is also prevalent in Pehalgam, where the local taxi union will not let you take your care beyond pahalgam to either Aru or chandanbari.

I am not really sure, if i would want to go to srinagar again. Feel the hospitality and hotel rates are much better in uttaranchal and H.P.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

10 Things To Learn From Japan

A friend shared this, and it is worthy for all of us to read,,

1.    THE CALM
Not a single visual of chest-beating or wild grief. Sorrow itself has
been elevated.

Disciplined queues for water and groceries. Not a rough word or a
crude gesture.

The incredible architects, for instance. Buildings swayed but didn’t fall.

People bought only what they needed for the present, so everybody could
get something.

No looting in shops. No honking and no overtaking on the roads.
Just understanding.

Fifty workers stayed back to pump sea water in the N-reactors. How will
they ever be repaid?

Restaurants cut prices. An unguarded ATM is left alone. The strong cared
for the weak.

The old and the children, everyone knew exactly what to do. And they
did just that.

They showed magnificent restraint in the bulletins. No silly reporters.
Only calm reportage.

When the power went off in a store, people put things back on the
shelves and left quietly

Sunday, March 13, 2011

The doom loop

I read about the doom loop in Good to great by Jim collins.

Found the doom loop to be very true. Organizations changing CEO often, new people trying for quick gains, and in the end the price is paid in weaker results and no momentum. The company becomes weaker and weaker with time. Something for all of us to think and prevent,

Seeing doom loop i understand why some projects/companies just fail to take off even when all is right. Its funny how the basic are ignored...

Appraisal discussion

I have seen managers shying away from appraisal discussion, and the every employee looking at the whole process as an unnecessary evil and suffering. Something that you have to do as your HR/manager has asked you to.

In my experience I have given people, good, average and even bad rating, and never had an ugly discussion. The average and bad rating have to be given in a way where people understand, what they lacked clearly, and what they need to do to achieve better ratings. Appraisal discussion are hard on those managers that do not share the good and bad the whole year, but share the wisdom only at the appraisal time.

Appraisal discussion is very important for development of people and the organization. I just hope that managers are better trained to do it, and understand the importance of it.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

25 Unwritten Rules of Management

Different Perspective: 25 Unwritten Rules of Management

I blogged about this more than 2 years back and maybe read this as the same time, however with time I have only seen the relevance grow of this list. This list now is pinned on each and every of my team members desk. See the rules

The rules are simple, but little harder to understand, and very hard to practise and make it a habit. Lot of issues can be avoided by these simple rules. I have seen many people failing by not following these simple rules. Or people who are just stuck where they are, and not moving ahead...

A lot is written, read, trained in management, but that is nicely summed up in these points.

My fav in the list are -

2. It is easier to get into something than it is to get out of it.
15. Be extremely careful of the accuracy of your statements.
17. Promises, schedules, and estimates are important instruments in a well-ordered business.
* You must make promises. Don’t lean on the often-used phrase, “I can’t estimate it because it depends upon many uncertain factors.”
25. Have fun at what you do. It will reflect in your work. No one likes a grump except another grump.

Friday, February 04, 2011

Why do people work late?

Here are some common reasons for people working late -
  1. Plain inefficient – Lacking logical thinking you spend loads of time on simple problems.
  2. Bad planning – Managers bad planning, leaving no time for the execution phase, so team has to slog.
  3. Bad process – Whole process is inefficient so lots of time waste.
  4. Managers perception – If people working late are assumed to be efficient, then you have to sit late..
  5. Bad personal planning – people wasting time in initial phases and then scrambling in the end. We tend to have the last minute scrambling syndrome.
  6. Inefficient team – So you end up doing what you team was to do. This is probably fine in initial phases but sometimes it just never improves.
  7.  Office perks - Bachelors sit for free internet, coffee, dinner, comp off's, etc.
I have had many instances where people working late as perceived as hard workers. The problem is big in software industry as this is a service industry. You can spend hrs solving and researching a trivial problem, or you can solve that in 2 mins. Managers who do not get into the thick and thin either agree go with the perception. So all efforts by perceived good workers are assumed as legitimate and all by perceived bad workers is assumed illegitimate.

what more??

Thursday, February 03, 2011

The Case of the Bonsai Manager

The Case of the Bonsai Manager: R Gopalakrishnan: PB Books Buy The Case of the Bonsai Manager India: -

I am reading the second book from this author, when the penny drops, and there are few references to the Bonsai trap. Whats interesting is that every manager falls into this, but few only manage to understand, learn and come out of the bonsai trap.

What i also feel the difference is that book talks about the challenges in management in Indian companies, which are different from those in MNC's. A good book which somehow i feel is some years ahead of me...the writer has poured his yrs of experience.

What is also interesting that writer feels, that loyalty to manager, is more important than loyalty to your company. For many yrs i used to feel otherwise, but recent experiences also make me agree with the writer. However, this is something i believe will come very hard to me...

Learning is never easy,,and never stops....

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Reasons for communication gap

Loads of books have been written on effective communication and related topics. A quick googling on reasons for communication gap, did not turn out anything interesting, simple and straight to the point. Therefore i decided to blog my thoughts on this. Some reasons according to me are  -
  1. Fear - Sometimes when the position of 2 parties are not same, then because of fear, you may not have clear communication. People should not have the fear, that what they speak in front of you shall be used against them.
  2. Mistrust - If the persons engaged in communication do not trust one another, then they are not actually listening. both try to do one way communication, or worst still, they just don't bother to communicate.
  3. Contempt- if there is contempt, then that reflects in words, and leads to dirty or half hearted conversations.
  4. Fixed ideas - People are just too fixated on what they want other person to understand and know, that they just do not listen. Not listening, breaks down the communication.
  5. lack of homework - Sometimes it is good that before talking you do research on the topic and then speak. Else the communication leads nowhere, and leads to a gap.
  6. Body language and tone - if body language and tone is not right, then right communication does not happen. Insurance companies, just by listening to the tone of doctors voice, can predict rightly the probability of that doctor getting sued.
  7. Communication medium - some discussions are best over emails, personal, phone etc. You need to chose correct medium and  environment to ensure proper communication..
What do you think? i am sure to have missed out many....

Thursday, January 27, 2011

I am not wrong!!

Everyone wishes the other person with whom they are dealing with have a clear thinking and decision making. We want to move ahead in life and not get stuck because of delay the other person is introducing by not giving the decision. However, we ourselves are guilty of sitting on many decisions? This needs some serious introspection.

We are afraid of decisions, about being wrong. Suddenly, i see being wrong as something totally unacceptable by ourselves. We go to great lengths to prove we are not wrong. We can hurt people who dare say that we are wrong. People feel age or position/rank gives them the immunity or that innate power of never being wrong.

We avoid confrontations and sit on decisions, hoping situations might just resolve itself. The pressure of always being right, is leading to people being more and more lonely, because they are afraid to share. The permutations that go into making any simple decision has increased many folds. Thus more depression and aggression. life used to be simple, but who has complicated it? us?