Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Ideas for Social Change: "Project AK-47"

I came across a new initiative today, so I though I should share it with my readers. This is an Idea for Social Change. And this change involves the most important asset for the future of our society, i.e. children. 

There are over one hundred thousands of kids in countries like Burma, Mexico, Shri Lanka, and Philippines have joined armed forces and many more are on the verge of joining them. Project: AK-47 was created to rescue these children.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Ideas to Ponder: "Expiration Dates for Charities?"

NGOs are defined by the World Bank as "private organizations that pursue activities to relieve suffering, promote the interests of the poor, protect the environment, provide basic social services, or undertake community development".

But isn't this definition too Utopian? 

To answer that question, lets see some figures:

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

On The Road Again: Amazing pics!

These are some of the most amazing pics that I have ever seen. Photographer is my close friend, Bharat Chintapalli (Second year student IIM-L). My favorite pic is Two's up! Decide yours...

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Debate: Online versus Offline behaviour

It has been a very long debate. People have different responses to the question: "Why our online behavior is different (if any) from the offline behavior?" And now people have already started responding on "How to deal with the errant offline behavior?" I recently came across a post by Justine Larbalestier, where he talks about his way of dealing with such people. In his post he says:

Friday, December 17, 2010

Ideas to Ponder: The Walk from "no" to "yes"

In today's post, I have covered learnings from Willian Ury on how to negotiate in tough situations. William Ury, author of well renowned book -"Getting to Yes," offers an elegant, simple (but not easy) way to create agreement in even the most difficult situations -- from family conflict to, perhaps, the Middle East in a TED talk. Watch the video:

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


Recently I came across a journal named ETC! There was one very interesting story in it based on catch-22 phenomenon. Here it goes...


THE SUPREME COURT decided in 2002 that it’s unconstitutional to execute a murderer who is retarded. The ruling was in the case of Daryl Atkins of Virginia, who scored 59 on an IQ test in 1998. That state put the cutoff for retardation at 70.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Man's Search For Meaning

Man's Search For Meaning
by Victor Frankel

1. No man can tell another what his purpose for being is. Each must find out for himself, and accept the responsibility that his answer prescribes. 

2. "He who has a "why" to live can bear with almost any how."É. Nietzsche 

3. Anything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms- to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way. 

Monday, December 6, 2010

Ideas to Ponder: "When Mistakes are Good..."

One thing as human beings we all have potential to do, and that (as you might have guessed it) is the potential to make mistakes! We commit mistakes no matter how precautionary we are, and to our surprise many times we commit these mistake because of the over precaution we took! I did try to address this topic in my earlier posts, but not to the extent to which I will be addressing here. 

|"It took me a long time to understand that, as human beings, we are bound to commit mistakes (this is something which is expected from us!)."

There are several related questions to committing mistakes, some of them are before committing them, few of them during and most of them after committing the mistakes. Lets deal each one of them one by one...

Questions before committing mistakes:

The relation between punishments and mistakes has very intriguing for most of us. Different degrees of mistakes happens in case of rewards and punishment. For example, When you attach a reward then the objectives becomes -'To achieve more' (no matter what the consequences be), and mistakes happen on the way so be the excellence.

And, when you attach punishment, opposite happens most of the time. 

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Ideas to Ponder: "Digital Entrepreneurship in India"

Few days back, I came across an article published in YourStory.in  (it's a website which focuses on entrepreneurial success stories). The title of the article was - "Is India ready for Digital Entrepreneurs?".  
The author himself being an digital entrepreneur argues that, 

"Unless people and culture change, innovating would be like making a comb for a bald person. But yes, there is a hope. The hope that the emerging digital revolution might just be able to create and expose the variety in today’s society."

Friday, December 3, 2010

Most Tempting Annual Report Ever Seen!

I recently came across a company named Temptation Foods Ltd. (TFL), its a major player and one of the largest organized sector enterprises in the Indian food processing Industry (that's what the company says!). But when one of my colleague at MDI (my B-school) showed me the annual shareholder's report of the company for the financial year 2008-09; I was shocked and could not stop laughing at it! Take a look yourself:

My objective here is not to express any derogatory remarks on the company par se, but to pay attention to the absurdness of making such a document which talks more about the beauty of a woman then about the company!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Ideas to Ponder: Need to Re-look at World Corruption Perceptions Index!

Since 1995, Transparency International has published an annual Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) ordering the countries of the world according to "the degree to which corruption is perceived to exist among public officials and politicians". The organization defines corruption as "the abuse of entrusted power for private gain".

Transparency International's 2009 Corruption Perceptions Index is the world's most credible measure of of domestic, public sector corruption. The CPI is an aggregate indicator that combines different sources of information about corruption, making it possible to compare countries.

Method CPI calculation

The CPI 2010 is calculated using data from 13 different surveys or assessments produced by the following 10 independent organisations:

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Impact of Wikileaks: Soon the Diplomats around the World would Start Hiding their Faces

Wikileaks has released just a few cables, and diplomats around the world have already started panicking. NYT reports that "Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Monday condemned the disclosure of thousands of confidential diplomatic cables, saying that it was an attack not only on American foreign policy interests but on the international community."

Of course its an attack on international community, because as I expect from the future cables, US alone is not going to be the culprit. 

Washington Post reports that "Diplomats and government officials around the world lamented the massive leak of U.S. diplomatic cables on Monday and many predicted it would undercut their ability to deal with the United States on sensitive issues." 

In Iran’s first official reaction to leaked State Department cables quoting Arab leaders as urging the United States to bomb Tehran’s nuclear facilities, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad dismissed the documents as American psychological warfare that would not affect his country’s relations with other nations, reports NYT on Monday. 

Monday, November 29, 2010

Wikileaks: Let the Fun Begin!

A latest news at NYT says that WikiLeaks released around 250,000 diplomatic cables to The New York Times Sunday, most from the last 3 years, detailing the conversations between Washington and embassies around the world on views of foreign leaders and frank assessments of nuclear and terrorist threats.

Pfc. Bradley Manning is accused
of leaking diplomatic cables
and other classified documents
to WikiLeaks.
The material was originally obtained by WikiLeaks, an organization devoted to revealing secret documents. These documents are said to have an unprecedented effect on US relations with some of its allies in the east. 

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and some other American ambassadors around the world have been contacting foreign officials in recent days to alert them to the expected disclosures.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Wikileaks and the Power of Internet

WikiLeaks is an international organization that publishes submissions of otherwise unavailable documents from anonymous sources and leaks. Its website, launched in 2006, is run by The Sunshine Press. Within a year of its launch, the site claimed a database that had grown to more than 1.2 million documents. The organization has described itself as having been founded by Chinese dissidents, as well as journalists, mathematicians, and start-up company technologists from the U.S., Taiwan, Europe, Australia, and South Africa. Newspaper articles and The New Yorker magazine (7 June 2010) describe Julian Assange, an Australian journalist and Internet activist, as its director.  

Assange claimed to release a new set of documents related to US policy for fighting terrorism in Muslim countries. The Obama administration is warning online whistleblower WikiLeaks that its expected imminent release of classified state department documents will put "countless" lives at risk, threaten global counterterorism operations and jeopardize US relations with its allies.  

Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Rural Divide

When you visit a rural village in India, you would easily get to understand the rural divide that exists there. A village is generally divided in terms of cast, religion, or social status of its people. People argue that, these rural people are illiterate and don't understand the importance of thinking beyond the casts and religion....

My point of contention is that; are we urbanites living in a Utopian world where everything is as the way it should be? Have you missed the urban divide around you? 

Its very easy to pinpoint the divide in a village, because of its sheer small size, but aren't these same (and sometimes severe) divides exist in a city? 

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Ideas to Ponder: "Understand your personality type, but Don't Stereotype!"

People in the research and development area, had developed a psychological measurement tool, which measures the personality type of a person. 

Personality type refers to the psychological classification of different types of individuals. Personality types are sometimes distinguished from personality traits, with the latter embodying a smaller grouping of behavioral tendencies. Types are sometimes said to involve qualitative differences between people, whereas traits might be construed as quantitative differences. According to type theories, for example, introverts and extraverts are two fundamentally different categories of people.

Then some other theorists developed another tool which measures the same stuff, but in a different way. In this tool, people have been classified into six different types: investigative, artistic, social, enterprising, conventional and realistic. 

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A Privacy Law, Finally!

Today technological revolution and thence media has revolutionized the way things were being done. You can create news without waiting for a reporter from a famous news paper to come and interview you. Just make a MMS (no pun intended!), or a YouTube video or write on your blog...you can do all of it at virtually zero cost.

But these benefits of free speech and free thoughts come to society at a cost. This cost is the cost of privacy of individuals. A news paper (live mint) says, "Indian government is coming up with a privacy law, finally!" Sohas government really started worrying about the privacy of their citizens? Is it so? 

Let me do a reality check before we can think of such a possibility.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Most Shrewed Negotiators! (Part-2)

This post is in continuation to my earlier post (visit here). Here I will present one more example that represents the epitome of the shrewdness of Indians. 

Scene 2:

Those of you who have had privilege to travel in Indian railways would recall such experiences, specially in the general category wagon! 

Ticket Checker (TC in short): Ticket please?

Student: Sure... Take this. 

// TC evaluating the dates of ticket creation and expiry...//

TC: Well...this is five months old! 

Student: How can it be? I got it from the ticket counter in the previous station! 

//This is the hight of dishonesty! Indian students are known for extracting highest possible value out of Indian railways...and most of the time, its just extraction and no payment!//

Friday, November 19, 2010

What Countries Force Kids to Work?

Remember a few years back, when big companies such as Nike kept getting immersed in sweatshop scandals? You hardly hear about that sort of stuff anymore. But the fact is, child labor and forced labor remain startlingly common throughout the developing world.

Click on the image to see in full.
This superb interactive chart shows you everything you need to know, from the countries where child and forced labor are most prevalent, to what exactly is being made -- the point being to better inform people, so that they can avoid such goods.

The data comes from a report by the U.S. Department of Labor, showing 122 goods made in 58 countries, using children or those working against their will. Here, for example, is the view given of each country. The various industries which use inhumane labor are depicted in icons:

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Work and Insomnia

I once read an article on 'work and Insomnia' which says, "Insomnia is the second most common cause of absenteeism from work after motherhood. Are you stuck in the vicious circle of sleeplessness?" 

Well...I am certainly not in motherhood (as I am a male!), neither am I showing any absenteeism! So why I am facing a situation where symptoms are more or less like insomnia? 

Work load? Excitement? Hunger? Blah... that's may be true. Well a considerable thought can be given into this mundane but hugely important subject, but if you are loosing sleeps like me, then its better pay some attention to it. 

Monday, November 15, 2010

Most Shrewed Negotiators! (Part-1)

Indians are shrewd in many field like: honoring guests from other country (leaving few incidences happened here and there!), software building, patronizing, patriotism, lauding, & smart work like JUGAD!  (Watch a video on shrewd Indian inventors). But, when it comes to negotiation (on a day to day basis by the common man); Indians are the most shrewd negotiators. A blog post in live mint blog on negotiation potential of Indians compelled me to write this post on negotiation shrewdness of Indians. 

Unlike their western counterparts; Indians are what we call -Value oriented people! In his post, Padmaparna Ghosh writes:

"Negotiating has got to be India’s single largest national skill. I think Indians can negotiate their way out of anything in everyday life (not even touching incidents of national and international proportions). In fact they are so good at it, that I would would go to the extent of saying that if  anyone can cajole/wheedle/argue their way through an airport with a 40-kg bag and a detonator in hand, it would be an Indian."

I have my own set of experiences with this hidden potential of Indians (although, my understanding is not limited to Indians! There are millions of Chinese, Americans, Brazilians, and Japanese out there including representatives from rest of the countries, doing the same! Suggestion for the reader: "observe people around you!"):

Scene 1: 

Lady to Rikshawala: Bhaiya...How much for 'X Hospital'? 

Rikshawala: How many are you?

Lady: What!!! Can't you see...? One person!... How much for 'X Hospital'?

Rikshawala: Taking a moment to observe the weight of her purse! Then quoting; Rs. 50. 

Lady: (Exaggerating her surprise) Whatttt! Are you crazy? 'X Hospital' is less than 1 km away from here...and you are asking me Rs. 50!!! 

Rikshawala: Madam...if you think that it's so near, then why don't you walk a little. And if you think that I am charging more than what is considered to be reasonable, then why don't to consult with other rickshawalas. (well...there was no other rickshawala around!)

//...She knew that Walking even 1 km. is worth burning 2 kg calorie for her!...so she need to bargain the situation, but not to over fight. (But for Indians, bargaining itself it like a do or die exercise...!)//

Lady: Ok...I'll give you 20, what do you think? 

Rikshawala: ??? Madam, I have five children to feed beside my wife, my father and mother! If I start accepting Rs. 20 from everyone that comes to me, I won't even be able to feed them once in a day! And you are not the first person, whom I'll be charging Rs. 50 for 'X Hospital'. 

Lady: Fine...I make it 30? 

Rikshawala: Madam...you don't understand. I don't pull Riksha, because I need money. I pull riksha because this country needs riksha pullers!  

// I don't know, when this rikshwala read Aristotle!//

Lady: Ohh... (thinking..) Look, I don't have time for such debate! Take 35...???

Rikshawala: Madam...I'll agree, but can I ask you one question? 

Lady: (little relieved) fine...ask.

Rikshawala: You are going to a hospital. Will you bargain the same way for Rs. 20-30 with the doctor and the chemist? Or is it that, you people do this only with poor and weak people? 

//...A wave of thoughts stormed her mind! Because, she never before though that way...///

This is true for most of us! We bargain where we find that, other person would not care  or his/her opinion would not weight if we go a little extra mile in our bargaining journey! But we don't bargain when we see that situation involves a perceived social status management! Are we hypocrite? I bet we are! 

Friday, November 12, 2010

Easy to be fooled by the Obvious

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who has won applause for his attempts to take India-US relations to new heights, like many others has been fooled by the obvious. Leadership of this country has misled the priorities, during president Obama's India visit Indian were more concerned about the seat in UN council than many other things. 

Obama is an excellent orator, he beautifully handled the whole situation. His excellent orator skills can judged by observing his speech in Indian parliament. 
Obvious_Ideas at the Bottom

He won not less than $10 bn worth of deals for companies in US, but in return he gave his support to India's demand of permanent seat in UN council. 

India is country, where still more than 50% of the population is living below poverty line (looking from the absolute measures). India needs roads, jobs, entrepreneurs, electricity, sustainable health care system ( expected investment required ~ trillion dollars). Then why leaders of this country still fighting for UN seat! Of-course India would benefit by that, but mere verbal support by the president is not a guaranty, as has been cleared earlier by Bush admin during nuclear deal.    

Obama was here to fulfill many of his strategic ambitions. Some of them are getting diplomatic support in Iran issue, earning huge business deals, showing Indians that America is their so called natural partner ( not Russia!). He deliberately bypassed the India-Pakistan issue that as said by Arundhati Roy; can be resolved only by an intervention by a third party. 

In all, the so called win-win deal, between India and US is not a win-win at all! Although, India is country where where intangibles (like permanent seat in UN) are more important than tangibles like  expelling a corrupt minister (RAJA of corruption!); hence this deal may appear a milestone to many! 

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A Fear.less Idea!

"Fear is intense. Fear is universal. Fear consumes. Nobel Peace Prize winners feel it. Artists feel it. Entrepreneurs feel it. Students and activists feel it. You feel it. (We feel it too.) That doesn’t mean we have to live with it."

These are the words of a new venture fear.less. It is a movement borne from our right to live without fear. It’s where human potential meets the courage to act. fear.less is a free online magazine that empowers people through unique stories of overcoming fear. From entrepreneurs, business leaders, artists and scientists to survivors of extreme experiences, these stories demonstrate the hidden potential we have to confront our fears and come out victorious.

Every story you read is an example of conquering fear, whether an immediate physical danger, the looming threat of failure, the pressure to compete in a changing world, the incessant quest for identity, or the overwhelming uncertainty of death.

These people embrace their circumstances with resolve and courage. They didn’t (and don’t) run away. They represent the best of the human spirit and reveal an inner strength we all possess, though we may not know it.

Read magazine's all past 7 issues:
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