Why is there no Indian Steve Jobs?

It’s become rather fashionable for people to complain that our IITs and IIMs have failed to produce any Steve Jobs or Bill Gates . I hear it like a broken record particularly in TOI forums (I can empathize if you don’t read TOI, neither do I; but the comments are pure entertainment, a must read if you are bored), fueled no doubt by Aamir Khan’s redoubtable portrayal of the most condescending self righteous character in the history of Indian cinema, Rancho of 3 Idiots.

Lets sit back and think for a moment. Did Steve Jobs and Bill Gates do their work in isolation? Did they single handedly make the computer revolution? The answer is NO. They sure made a huge contribution but to make that contribution possible they had a support ecosystem, a thriving technological and economic climate not just in their country but particularly more so in the region they lived. Continue reading

Why interning at a startup would be a bad idea for bschool grads

Why interning at a startup would be a bad idea for bschool grads

Just read this (http://www.pluggd.in/why-interning-with-startups-should-be-made-compulsory-at-b-schools-297/) at pluggd.in where the author, Bhavya Sahani, tries to make a case for the idea of b-school grads interning at startups.

 

The author basically says that interning at a startup would help a relatively inexperienced student discover his/her core strength instead of going for the popular choice. He of the opinion that the more experienced students at a bschool (and most Indian bschools have relatively inexperienced students. I myself have no work experience) would have a better idea of their strengths and tend to not follow the herd when making career decisions while the inexperienced ones never get to figure out their core competency. While I agree that experienced students do show more maturity in making career decisions, it is not uncommon for an IT guy ending up with a job in a pure marketing role at an FMCG firm. It is also possible that the experienced students are so accustomed to their prior field that they there is an inertia against trying something new (though admittedly I haven’t seen that happening with students in my batch).

MBA (more so General Management which is what is offered by the IIMs), is one of those occasions in one’s career where one can make a drastic move, and rediscover one’s core competencies. Just because you joined an IT or energy firm right after engineering, where choices are limited, does not mean you have to necessarily stick with it. Besides, even after 3-4 years of work ex after undergrad one hardly gets to experience a broad spectrum of roles to be able to make a proper choice about one’s core competencies. One works within a relatively rigid set of parameters on a very specific role, hardly gets to interact with client much less drive client engagement. But the first year of MBA helps one discover what they like – I thought I could not like anything other than Operations but my favourite subjects have been those in Economics and Marketing while others who thought they would not be able to stand anything other than Finance were happy to take up Consulting or General Management(well to be frank the lack luster hiring by I-banks do have a role to play here).

So why can’t a startup internship help one figure out their core competency? Simply put, an 2 month internship just wont be enough. Startups are too chaotic and unstructured for one to figure things out fast. Continue reading

Release Early, Release Often. Not quite

Quite often I have come across the mantra of “Release Early, Release Often” , a philosophy that says developers should release their products early and gauge user response to the app and make frequent changes based on user feedback. The benefits of such an approach are obvious, you get early feedback from users telling you what they like and what they don’t and what features they would like to see in the product. It ensures your development is headed in the right direction and doesn’t oscillate out our control. It helps you focus and get to the right features faster instead of releasing something into the market and realizing you have gone all wrong. For many developers this had yielded good dividends. It does work. Continue reading

Debunking : “5 Conservative Economic Myths Occupy Wall St. Is Helping Bust”

Came across this article (5 Conservative Economic Myths Occupy Wall St. Is Helping Bust) yesterday by Dave Johnson who  is a Fellow with Campaign for America’s Future and a Senior Fellow with Renew California where he writes about some of the alleged ‘Conservative’ Economic myths (someone please tell me what this ‘Conservative Economist’ creature is?) that Occupy Wall Street is allegedly helping bust. A single glance at it reveals fallacies and inaccuracies that anyone who has taken Economics 101 would be able spot. Dave Johnson first builds up a straw-man ‘conservative economist’ then attributes certain ‘conservative economic myths’ (sic) to the said ‘conservative economist’ and then valiantly proceeds to dismantle this staw-man and dispel these alleged myths. So let’s look at what these alleged ‘conservative economic myths’ are that our 200lbs pooping, drug peddling, whining Occupy Wall Street hippies are allegedly helping bust.

Alleged Myth 1.  Business does everything better than government.

According to Dave Johnson, ‘conservative economists’ have been arguing all along that business do everything better than government because they are more efficient and profit driven. He writes Continue reading

Being an Entrepreneur : What I learnt from Piyush Nahata

IIM-A conducts an Entrepreneurship fair every year where it invites select startups across multiple sectors to interact with the students and hopefully convince some of these students to work with them during for their summer internship. There is usually a decent mix of companies; tech startups are obviously there along with a lot of Edu startups (looks like a Edu bubble there to me), energy and a few financial ones as well. To be frank, I was kind of disappointed by the turn out the previous year and so this year my hopes weren’t very high. By far, the only firm I was looking forward to was Zomato and that too because I was interested in the new API they released rather than any work opportunity with them. You might find a comparison of Zomato and Burrp API on this blog sometime in the next few weeks. So yeah, I went to the Zomato booth and had a nice chat with it’s COO Pankaj Chaddha. I love their site and I am looking forward to more stuff from them. There were quite a few other cool startups as well and it would be great if some of the students did join these firms for their summers. Continue reading

Raymonds sucks

This is my 3rd suit from Raymonds and while their fabric is all good, I am not at all happy with their tailoring. Let me give a few instances

1. At the most basic, the tailors have no clue what the ideal length of a suit should be.The length of the suit jacket should be in line with your extended thumb when you place your arms parallel to your body and it should just cover your buttocks; whichever is longer. The one in Guwahati made it a tad shorter and it doesn’t completely cover my buttocks and the one in Ahmedabad made it way longer and then I had to ask him to cut it short.

2. The two suits bought from Guwahati have abysmal buttons which lost their color in the top after 2-3 dry clean (bear in mind that I spent upwards of Rs 40,ooo on the two suit combined. At that price you can throw in a few good button at least).

3. The tailors have a tendency to slightly curve the outer edge of the lapel. I am not sure what style that is but it sure is more than a decade old. That lapel should be a straight line and no curve on the edge of the lapel.

4. Shirt collars : They (tailors at Raymonds) know just one collar Make it as huge as you possibly can and curve it on the outer edge giving a perfect 80s look. Now those collars are out of fashion. Personally I like my collars straight (like Neal Caffrey aka Matt Bomer in White Collar) or slightly spread (Harvey Spector in Suits). Even the spread curved collar (like Moriarty in Sherlock) is cool but I that wouldn’t suit my bulky frame and round face. Even after repeated instructions on how I want my collar, it still is the same curved at the edge nonsense that these tailors learnt when they first started their trade.

5. Hara-kiri on the lapel: The lapel should be an easy thing to do, but not for the Raymonds people in Ahmedabad. First, they made a really wide lapel, it still is wider than my other suits even after I asked them to slim it up. Then the line where the lapel meets the collar is not done straight, the collar line is slightly above the line where the lapel and collar meet. Now, I don’t know how someone can get that wrong, but Raymonds did. Also, these days, the notch is slightly higher but our Raymonds people are still stuck up in the 90s; they cannot and will not learn anything new.

6. Buttons on the sleeve: A lot of bespoke suits have functional buttons; buttons that you can actually open or close. So I thought why not get one for myself; the suit is certainly not bespoke but what the heck. I had asked Raymonds (Ahmedabad) to make the buttons functional and reminded the tailors thrice and yet on final delivery; the buttons are the usual, the ones you can’t open.

Raymonds is not doing anything to train its tailors and I have idea why. Styles change so frequently and yet their tailors are still stuck up in their decades old mindset. I don’t think I am going to Raymonds ever again to get a suit. I have had enough.

And finally, pocket squares. Yes, check out the pocket square collection at Raymonds in Ahmedabad and you might throw up. The pocket squares have some multi coloured patterns drawn on them – may be Gujaratis like those. I have seen way better squares at Turtle and that is where I am going to pick up pocket squares from. Good bye Raymonds, it certainly wasn’t a pleasure meeting you.

Who does the ULFA represent exactly

A bit of a background first for people who do not have CCCF (Conceptual Clarity and Contextual Familiarity) on the subject. ULFA or the United Liberation Front of Assam is a terrorist organization. It was founded in 1979 by members of the AASU (All Assam

Students Union) to act like a Robinhood-esqe outfit that would implement a socialist structure in the state of Assam and also drive away all ‘foreigners’ which basically means non-Assamese inhabitants of Assam like Bengalis (particularly the ones who had come to Assam

after the partition of Bangladesh), Marwaris and Biharis. The logic was of the ULFA leaders and their supporters, whether armed or just the regular guy, was simple, and one oft-repeated by most such xenophobic groups; the ‘foreigners’ have taken a hold on our land, they run the offices, they own the shops and businesses and we can let this happen, we can’t let them ‘rule’ us and therefore we want them out of the state. You can see similar sentiments echoed by MNS too and by the Nazis. The ULFA wanted a separate sovereign ‘country’ of Assam which would have a socialist government and where no ‘foreigners’ would be allowed.

Continue reading