Sunday, July 27, 2008

Mullah, Dabbahwalah, Lucy Kellaway, UNNATHI.

Just realized that I am in to the nervous Ninety's on the number of Blogs. By the way I am glad my last week prediction that the government would survive was proved Right. With all the crisis, the last thing we need is an early election.!!!

I was listening to Wayne Turmel talking about Mullah Nasruddin on the witty aspects of work. I have read stories in the form of cartoons of Mullah Nasruddin during school days with a lot of wit, deep message as well as culture that was prevailing. I could recollect similar tales of the Jestor Tenali Rama during the Emperor Krishnadevaraya in South India. One can not forget the wit, intelect and sharp minded nature of Raja Birbal in the court of Emperor Akbar. Wonder, who else would fit the bill in the list. Yes, the fictious charecter, Sir Humphrey Appleby would fit well in the BBC Serial Yes Minister (The sequel, Yes Prime Minister!!).

I just wondered, why I never wrote about the Dabbawala's of Bombay?. So many magazines (latest being last week's The economist) have covered their Greater than 6sigma performance and even HBR / Newyork times have marvelled at their work. Ofcourse, my personal experience being one of their customer at the beginning of my career in 1985/86 in Bombay waiting for the dubbah(Lunch box) to arrive from a Dombivali mess serving the bachellors (I was working in Kalwa the only railway station in India without a road approach to the station, you have to walk on the railway track to get in/ out, what a risk!!???). They were never late, never missed even for a day(rain or shine) in the 7 months I used their service. They have still sustained their levels of service with the same quality and committment. So a big thank you for filling the stomach. Keep up the great work!!!.

I encourage all of you to read or listen to Lucy Kellaway podcast/ blog in Financial times. I accidentally discovered her podcast in Itunes when I surfed the ITUNES UK Store. The sarcarsm/ the pungence/ the candidness/ the dressdown on business practices/ people/leaders are treat to hear during the walk. It is a good lesson some times how not to be a leader. (Her attack on Business jargon like Going forward usage, was a treat!!, the english accent so filling to the ear!) I dont think anybody has touched the business issues so openly. It is worth listening. Please dont give it a miss. I cant wait to finish the 50 or so podcast in my Ipod.

Yes, the column of Ask Annie on CNN and Liz Ryan on Business week provide great answers to your Business/work related/professional aspects/ career questions.

I would close this week, (Need to do quick, power outage for the past 10 hrs, back up power dwindling, the curse of Power crisis all over India for the last 2 weeks) with the great service provided by the "UNNATI"social service organisation. They do a lot of voluntory service in teaching the vocatioanal skills in children below 18 so that children can become independent. Great service and contributions from guys from all walks of life. You may read about it in the link I have provided and contact them to do your bit here. All contributions are exempted from Income tax. I am glad we are doing our bit over the last 2 years.

My heart goes out to all the victims in the twin Blasts in the past 48 Hrs in Bangalore and Amdavad.

Till next week, take it easy and take care; Live conciously.
Karthik.



Sunday, July 20, 2008

Downloads, Picasa2, Useful Podcasts

I am back from my Far east trip and wanted to share some of the experience.
1) First of all it was a great feeling to work without Blackberry. The BB and other mobile phones don't work there. So in a way it was relief that there are no urgent emails to answer on the run. Yes, the downside is you are not accessible during any adverse situation, but I guess those are once in blue moon situation with other means of contact. So much so, that I have decided to take the blackberry from the hip holster. It just lies in my table and wont be clinging around when I move.

2)Yes, the other side to the communication is the amazingly High download speeds of internet. I had downloaded 7 Gb(Yes Gigabytes) of podcast in 4 Hrs time. That worked at a rate of 30Mb of data downloaded per minute and about .5Mb/sec. I tested the connection and I could get upload speed of 450KBPS. As was the wifi connections seem to be available every where. This speed was in the hotel and my Korean friends indicated that the hotel I stayed didnt have that much of high speed connection. They are used to download 750MB file size in less than 10 minutes. It was an amazing experience similar to the one in Tokyo last year but here the speed was mind boggling.

3) The Incheon Airport and Shanghai airport are state of the art and gates and walkway extending to more than 1kilometer end to end. The facilities inside the terminal like resturants, shopping as well as equal distribution of amneities were always within reasonable distance of walking. Yes, the walk to immigration counter from the aircraft door can be energy sapping after a long flight!!!. One thing that amazed me in Shanghai/ Seoul airports was that we were out of the aircraft in less than 2 minutes after parking. (Despite being in coach). It always take no less than 10 minutes to come out of any Indian Airports, wonder Why???.
4) The other thing that amazed me in Korea was the punctuality!! meetingrooms were 90% full always 5 to 10 min ahead of schedule, people were ready and waiting, people came to pick you up 5 min before time. Not one event started late!!. I was wonderstruck. May be the compulsory draft that brings discipline in people I am pondering!.

Ok, on to some other aspects, here we go.

I am glad I could find Picasa2 to upload the photos in to my blog. This task was always a nuisance to post photos without distortion in the blog. The only disadvantage is that you can post only 4 photos at a time. Some one find a way to beat around it by creating 3 separate files and combining them as one.

I am sure folks are aware of the podcast alley, which provides a chance to pay back the podcasters with your vote on most favourite podcaster. I have kept in my routine task to post my vote for my favorite podcasters. With ITunes allowing recent registration in India I look forward to an active interaction in this process.Here are some of the podcasts, I have added to my Ipod list to listen to.(Yes, finding time to listen to all will not be easy, lets worry about that later).

Business Essentials. Practical aspects done from Australia.
David Maisters Business essentials. Worth in Gold. I am of too small stature to comment about David.
Leadership in GOLD.
Plain Simple management. Common sense I assume.
Smarter by the minute.
Thinking for business success.
Knowledge at Wharton.
Leadership 101.
Lucy Kellaway FT.com
Stuff you should know.

Yes, I havent covered by religious and spiritual aspects which are in my personal domain.
So, let's see if the Indian government survives the trust vote on Nuclear deal in the parliament, Tuesday. My gut feeling is it might Just!!.

Ok, till next week, take it easy and take care; live conciously.
Regards
Karthik.



Saturday, July 19, 2008

K Nagarajan Model High School Karaikudi.

I learned from a mutual friend that my school teacher at Dr Alagappa Model Higher secondary School, Karaikudy, Mr K Nagarajan passed away some time back. Mr Nagarajan took Maths and English classes during my 9th and 10th Grade during 1976-78. He had a passion for English and helped us to understand the subjects better.

Mr Nagarajan was very involved when he taught Shakespeare and Charles Dickens. He also helped us understand Algebra better. He went on to become the headmaster of the school in the mid 80s before retiring in the early 90s.

The model High school teachers generated best out of the students. I think we owe our success to whatever they did to us. Yes, Time do take away them from us. We owe all of them a big thanks for what they did to us.
I am sure Mr Nagarajan's family would have the courage to bear this irrepairable loss. May his soul rest in peace.
Regards
Karthik.

431 and Korea Photos.


The way to fortune teller's Home.




















Korean Eating tradition.















Architecture in Jejju Island













431 KM speed on MAGLEV Train to Shanghai Airport.
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Korean wedding ceremony.


















BRIDGE TOO FAR


















KOREAN FOLK VILLAGE entrance.
















KOREAN COOL NOODLES and Green gram Pancake(Indian!!!).
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Korean Woman Traditional Dress
















SH Kim who took trouble to make sure my Korean trip was trouble free and memorable. He had lot of personal commitments which he set aside.











Honeywell Korea.
















Honeywell Turbo Shanghai.
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Sunday, July 13, 2008

Thoughts from Far East.

I am posting this column from Shiheung City, South Korea. This week blog almost didn't happen as the scrips on home page by default goes Korean. So Clicked by practice the link and the new post link opened up. Looks like practice, practice, practice as they say.
I reached here Thursday on a week trip. The land of Morning Calm looks calm in a sense as we go out of Seoul. Yes, I had heard a lot about Seoul traffic jams and we did get stuck in to one Saturday. The 60 Km journey took 5 Hours.

My colleague SH Kim from Honeywell Korea, set aside his personal situation to take me to the Korean folk village at Yongin city which is about 80 Kms from here. Any foreigner visiting Korea must visit this place to understand the Korean value, culture, belief and tradition. The 4 Hrs I spent gave me a lot insight in to Korean life. I could also see lot of similarities as seen across Asian culture. Some of the practices and customs (Like grand celebrations of one's 60th Birthday) was similar to the Indian traditions. It was time well spent. The food court is worth spending time. The folk dance was amazing. It was thrilling experience to watch the Korean wedding ceremony. I will post the pictures next week once I am back home.
I also did some shopping in the Insadong shopping area for Korean Souviniers, It is worth spending time to see Korean art. Of course, overall the cost seems at least 40% expensive for everything I purchased. Looks like Korean Won is a strong currency and Korea purchase power parity seems High and not favorable to tourists.

My wife was insisting that I pack some food item from home for this trip as the general belief is that vegetarians have problem in this part of the world.(More so with my additional special needs). I must admit this week in both Shanghai and so far here, I have not faced any problem. In fact, I had one of the best barley drink here in Seoul. I fully believe that as long as you are able to communicate what you want, you would get something. Yes, the tongue should coordinate with mind. Communication is the key to a full stomach.

Moving from food, I had the great experience in Shanghai traveling on the MAGLEV train to Shanghai airport.The train reached max speed of 431 Km/hr. It was an amazing experience. Try that out. Yes,be warned that when you take the MAGLEV from the airport and then take taxi to the Hotel etc. Be ready to see and insist with the driver to down the TAXI meter as soon as you board in. You may be ripped off, if that doesn't happen. Also insist for print receipt.
I was also impressed with Dragon Air which I flew from Bangalore to Shanghai.

The service was good. Coffee the best in a long time in a flight. The flight from Bangalore was delayed and I missed the connecting flight, but the customers service personnel were waiting with Alternate boarding pass.

Further on travel Marshall Goldsmith has posted an interesting forum on Business travel tips in HBR. As he mentions, I always change the watch to the new time zone and makes sure I think everything in that time zone. It is tuff but you would get used to it if you practice.

It was amazing to read and watch the followup interviews on the rescue of Ingrid Betancourt. What an effort by the rescue team and what an ordeal She has undergone??. Larry King Handled that well. Bravo.
Till next week, take it easy and take care; Live Conciously.
Regards
Karthik.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Sam Manekshaw, Digital Native, Ergostretch.

I missed posting my thoughts on Field Marshall, Sam Manekshaw who passed away last week. Sam Bhadhur as he was affectionately called (Being from Gorkha Regiment) was my childhood hero. I can still recollect the news paper reading when I was about 8 years, as to how he planned and lead the 1971 war. Of course it is a team effort, the support he got from the Navy and Airforce lead then by SM Nanda and PC Lal were no less. In my opinion,1971 war brought India on the world map of elite nations who can help other nations. Well served, Sir. May his soul rest in peace.

We have been asked to switch to a new expense reporting system CONCUR, Let us see how it goes, All I have heard of it is just grit and do it. Will be intresting to see the road blocks ahead.
I was listening to the Anna Farmery podcast this week and I was fascinated by the podcast with Paul Young He mentioned the words Digital Native and Digitial Migrant. Fabulos concept as to how people who all along lived in digital aspects around them or embraced it as the technology just came through. That got me thinking for a long time!!!. Wonder how much impact digital life has on us!!.

I came across this Ergobreak software. This is cool. When you sit absorbed and dont count the passing of time only to find tired eyes and numb fingers. This program kind of reminds you to take break. Try this out.

I was also reading the Economist supplement of New trends in energy alternatives with Wind,Geothermal, Solar, Batteries etc. Ofcourse, people call the coal as King coal and Oil as Queen Oil and that their empire will regin on. Lets see for how long?.

Ok, Till next week, Take it easy and take care; live conciously.
Karthik.

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