6/27/2007

Images from the Mumbai Trip

The trip started with "dinner" at the Chennai airport at about 10 45 pm.I had an early dinner around 7 pm, so by 11 pm, my stomach was grumbling, and so I happened to spot this at the entrance of the domestic airport. As soon as I said " One Cheese Sandwhich please", I saw 4 rats running around, and that was enough to give this place a miss. There happens to be another food counter which had saner prices and pretty comestible food, at the Taj catering counter,before the security check.
The AIR DECCAN flight was re scheduled from 18 15 to 23 00 hrs and not suprisingly AIR DECCAN was tightlipped about its 11 pm flight till 10 55 pm, and the flight finally started at 11 30 pm and as soon as I sat on the flight, my eyes opened only in Mumbai
I reached Mumbai at 1 15 in the morning, and immideatley called up a room mate of my class mate at Great Lakes, and he directed me to his flat at Andheri. Gate crashing is in :-), and when I was about to sleep at 2 am, I noticed a small hill outside the window, but when I got up in the morning I saw that the darkness had camouflaged a set of slums (This was Subhaash Nagar in Andheri, in the MIDC area).
I quickly got up and left home to reach the ITC Grand Maratha at SAHAR only to realise that the seminar was happening at ITC Grand Central, which was at lower Parel. So I took a taxi amidst the Mumbai morning frenzy of the traffic jam. The total cab expense in the morning ran up a whopping 215 rs.
I came, I saw and I sat down

It was interesting to see an international conference having bean bags instead of traditional chairs. Web 2.0 is all about fun ? Is that the impression that the Internet industry wants to send feelers on? Maybe! It was fun at the conference, getting to hear opinions and gnyan.
Thats's Avnish Bajaj of Matrix Partners discussing with Ravi Datanwala and Navin Mittal. Navin is the founder of Fropper.com and Ravi is from Microsoft. Both seemed to have conficting opinions on the technology tools needed for a start up. Navin was vociferous about a LAMP architecture for a start up, while Ravi was evangelising and hard selling Microsoft.
That's Ashish Kashyap, CEO of MIH Internet in Gurgaon. MIH's stable includes products like ibibo.com(Blogging service) and dwaar.com(Search Engine). Ashish spoke about the utilitarian nature of web 2.0.
Rehan Yar khan on the left was a founder of a company called yo4ya.com and has also founded a company called flora 2000, which delivers flowers to a 153 countries. On the right is a more sedate Nikhil Pahwa, who founded desimartini.com, a social networking website and interestingly has also founded Second Shaadi, a portal for divorced people
The Bean bags and the lights made the stage very colourful

This session was very well moderated and they spoke about the marketing perspectives in web 2.0. The person on the extreme left is Shailesh Rao, the MD of Google India followed by Mr Bindra, Country head of MSN India. They are flanked by Mr Bangar,Garima Chaudhari(citi group) and Kiruba( My Ex- B0ss). The highlight of the session was the way Kiruba said in plain words to the Google head about "how bloggers were waiting for Yahoo and MSN to introduce advertising initiatives on blogs so that Google could be kicked in its butt". The best speakers were Jaspreet Bindra and Kiruba, but I was equally impressed with the way Shailesh spoke.
Talk about catching on business news, while you are destressing youself in the toilet!
The Corridor of the Taj Central at Parel was a great place to network with business heads and this awesome setting with monsoon clouds right above was just the right place for some hot tea during the breaks.
Honey Where is the Money... This was a session on venture capitalism and funding for web 2.0 business. The panel between them were all from MIT,Harvard and Wharton and became investmennt bankers before they became venture capitalists.This session started a little soporific, but gained momentum after a few questions.
The final session speaking on the advances of new media and whether individuals in the new media could give traditional media a run for its money. Thats Mariam Mathew of the Malayala Manorama, flanked by Sanjeev Bhikchandani , the CEO of Naukri.com. The person on the right is the soft spoken Sanjay Trehan, the CEO of NDTV Convergence. It was good to meet up with Sanjay,whom I had earlier had conversations over email, when he was at Hindustan Times.





















6/21/2007

Heading to Mumbai for the Weekend

The IAMAI summit on web 2.0 is schduled to be held in Mumbai tommorow and I have registered myself as a participant. I was to leave at 4 30 pm for a 6 15 pm Air Deccan flight, but as it is always with Air Deccan, they have rescheduled the flight to 11 pm tonight, so effectively I start on 21st and reach Mumbai on 22nd :-).

The summit has a few interesting speakers lined up and I am looking forward to hear more about the Internet industry and the trends. I am back home on Saturday night and should bring a lot of pictures from my Mumbai trip.
I loved it the last time I went to Mumbai.

Interview with Mr Chandresh Dhebar

Mr Chandresh Dhebar had addressed our College students on People Management and business ethics on the 14th of June. Chandresh Dhebar is currently the Chairman of HR Advisory services Pvt ltd in New Delhi.

A small note about Mr Chandresh Dhebar

Chandresh has enriched innovative HR practices at such global corporations like PwC, Adobe, GrapeCity etc. A HR strategist and a motivational trainer, also serves as a member of Human Capital Committee of FICCI. Chandresh is spearheading HR Minds Consulting to boost people revenues at its clients using its pioneering ‘performance with merit’ programme. As a visiting faculty to various business schools, Chandresh is seeding future business leaders with his HR innovations.

Some of the key points of his address were to know oneself very well, have a USP, Create credibility and reliabilty for delivery and finally to orient oneself as a person who executes all actions. He spoke on the subtle differences between promise and commitment and how working on business ethics helps in achieving business and personal goals.

Here are some pictures from the event and a small interview with Mr Chandresh Dhebar, on behalf of the Great Lakes Blogging Team.


Mr Chandresh with Seema Mohanty and Arunachalam.S of Team Gravity (Our Magazine)

Mr Chandresh with Seema and Balaji Sarukkai( The most experienced person with 13 years of Consulting experience)

Arunachalam.S welcoming the Guest, and starting the proceedings

Mr Dhebar on People Management at Great Lakes



Kartik Kannan interviews Mr Chandresh Dhebar


The Interview is shown below



6/20/2007

Neo Sports- In your face advertising




I happened to see this ad come as an email to me and just saw how NEO goes about marketing the fact that its telecasting the Ireland tour one day internationals. Their headline goes " What you missed at the World Cup", which is a very catchy tagline before you click on the advertisement. Given that Indian cricket has not yet made the advertisers flock to the stadium, I guess NEO would need to hardsell Indian cricket a little more than usual.

6/19/2007

Term 2 at B-School

Term 1 at Great Lakes just got over and all it has done is make me study on the principle of rockets. Its not that I aim for the skies, but I dont seem to start studying unless my tail is on fire. The last term was a huge lesson, in learning to manage many things parallely. I might not have set my grades on fire, but am wounded enough to sit up and take notice in term 2. There is this urge to do so many things, as there is a new found freedom of not being at work, so one ultimately ends up spreading too thin by trying too many things.

After 6 weeks of pressure, competition and relative grading, there are so many if's and but's that emerge, as one contemplates the term that went by. Nothing major,its just the fact that had i competed a little harder I would have been happier. Some times its not just about competing for the battle, but knowing why you are in for the war, that matters. Pre reading helps you stay afloat with your grades and repeated reading at the right time, helps you be above "C" level, but what makes you really sail at the speed of knots is the ability to assimilate the subject at a larger level and debate on the pro's and con's. Unless that happens, the rush of B school life will only make a person stunted enough to just see subjects and concepts whizz past your ear, even as your mouth tries in vain to taste and digest it.


Term 1 was all about survival at B school, and it is this lack of interest in just existing, that has made me introspect on my expectations in terms of learning and the experience that I would like to happen. May be Financial Accounting and Statistical Methods, have bounced me out, but I am still there at the crease waiting for the next set of subjects in term 2 to come hard at me so that I can have a crack at them.

Yuhin Chala Chal Rahi..... Yuhin Chala Chal

6/16/2007

Images from Podworks

Podworks happened last week, and I managed to deliver my session on day 1 as well as day 2. I was not able to take too many pictures, but managed to get some from other folks. The biggest advantage of attending such events is the amazing amount of business networking that happens for the 200 Rs that you pay there as a participant(even speakers at the conference pay, as they still attend other sessions). I felt the presentation on "How to make Audio Podcasts in 10 minutes" went a little longer than expected, but did objectively teach even the naive user, how easy podcasting was. The second presentation was on quick video podcasts, that could be made from any place in the world, even as we travel with the convergence of a Laptop,Data Card and a Mobile Phone.



This was on Day 1, when I was responding to an answer.

This was during the hands on session when I was speaking on where to paste the embed code

Me during the presentation

A live demo of a quick 5 minute audio podcast on ODEO

The demo in action via a HP Tablet PC

6/15/2007

Sivaji-Movie Review

Sivaji- The F.L.O.P –(When Rajini became Robinhood! )

or

SIVAJI The L.O.S.S (Loss of Sixth Sense)



If you felt the above caption has some tinkering to do in English grammar, then don’t worry, SIVAJI is bound to surprise you with many such titles at the start of the film, and as time goes on SIVAJI is bound to grip you to your seats, as the guilty feeling of having committed 300 Rs for the film would strike you several times over, during the movie.

The movie is basically a poor attempt at sarcasm and humor , that aims to attract the onlookers based on the make up that makes Rajnikant a good 25 years younger and has all the trappings of being a masala movie without substance. Generally Rajnikant has looked in command when he delivers his punch dialogues, amidst a somewhat OK story in the last few years, but SIVAJI, has only punch dialogues, repeat charisma and a terribly screwed story line.

Sivaji THE B.O.S.S(Bachelor of Social Service) starts off with images of the central jail in Chennai with a car arriving and as soon as the car stops a boot emerges out of the car. The audience in the theater who have been reserving their shrieks and cat calls, wait for the moment of truth and when the boot emerges out of the car, the audience breaks into a frenzy unparralled. Rajnikanth has cleverly used people in the movie who break out into a hysterical chest beating, pretty much on the lines of how Micheal Jackson used to attract his fans. The theatre resembles a mini Eden gardens that erupts every time Rajnikant’s face is flashed on the screen.

Rajnikant, is jailed for embezzling “x” crores and why he was jailed forms the first part of the story before you wait with unabated breath for the signal of intermission. The first half delves into the life of Sivaji, a US Software architect who comes to India with noble aims of building free for all colleges and hospitals. Sivaji, has his entourage and man Friday in the form of the comedian Vivek, who struggles under the shadows of Rajnikant this time. Vivek’s performance as a second fiddle comedian, totally wastes his creativity and his comedy in the movie has only a cursory effect which is so unlike the impact he has had in other movies like Run or Minnale. Vivek does manage to lift your spirits up with some cheeky dialogues, but surely pales in comparison to his previous comedies.


With Vivek as his man Friday, Rajnikant starts to give press conferences on his “free for all model” and asks for support from a politician called “Adiseshan”. Adisheshan , being the perfect politician, is a strict disciplinarian when it comes to making money the illegal way and he bears no grudges about using the politics medium to make money. Adiseshan has an engineering college and a medical college, where he seems to follow only a single window system where he sits near the window and admits students on capitation fees.Adiseshan feels that Rajnikant may eat up into his revenue model and plans to do all he can to ruin him.

Rajnikant sees this and with even renewed vigour begins to start work on his project, but his project has to go through the hurdles of bribery at statistically 16 points indicating the various levels in bribery.He bribes the ministers and starts constructing his dream complex. Meanwhile the “young” Rajnikant tries and woos the sexy shreya, who plays the perfect tamil girl, who falls in love with a hero without even interacting with the hero. Shreya is spotted at a temple and Vivek plays agony aunt, in getting Rajnikant and Shreya together. Shreya seems to have adapted to various costumes well enough. She looks the petite Tam brahm girl by the role, which undergoes a rather 180 degree transformation in the songs where she is reduced to a gaudy slut with too many colours on her, and of course Rajini competing with her on the gaudiness quotient.The way Rajini and Shreya decide to "love" each other is bound to make you laugh, and this is where first instances of loose direction is visible. I still cannot believe that Shankar made the movie and A.R.Rehman composed the music. Songs seem to appear out of nowhere and some crazy and gaudy make up dominates most of the songs except the first song featuring Nayantara. The music is not worth giving a ear to and is a huge let down to A.R.Rehman fans.



Shreya looks the saving grace of the movie, especially if you cant picture Rajnikant as a Keanu Reaves clone, doing the matrix stunts with his phoney American accent of saying “cool cool” every time he asserts his superiority. Shreya, is basically a doll in the movie who seems to have more faith in the theory that if a monkey shows up 10 times at the house and asks her hand for marriage, she would marry. Don’t fume at me, that’s what the story conveys, where Rajnikant does crazy tricks to woo her and tells he wants to marry her, because he likes her at first sight and Shreya keeps avoiding him, before in a bizarre moment she says she likes him, and it’s a Rajni movie, so no questions on story and how things happen. Looks like Director Shankar has taken that fact to his advantage in producing an illogical movie (Read Drivel). Other things that will have you entertained would be Rajini walking in a leather jacket in Chennai, with the sun blazing, Rajini doing a mini Chayya Chayya fight sequence, a so-called angry man rowdies- better -be-beware -look and when he makes Newton and Keanu reaves pale to shame during the fight sequence.



If some did say he/she enjoyed the first half, then I suggest the person needs a vacation in an island all by himself to get back to sanity. An overdose of Rajinikant’s pyro techniques and style can sometimes be too much and can induce sleep as a few of my friends discovered early this morning when we watched the movie. The movie seems to follow a archaic formula which evokes responses of “ been there done that “. Its basically “Ghilli meets Matrix, as Robin Hood and an overdose of Rajnikant to rake up the moolah” . Watching Rajnikant with his so called punch dialogoues and gravity defying acts of warfare you’d throw up your hands in exasperation, if entertainment was all that you wanted in those 180 minutes of pre booking that burnt a huge 300 rs in your purse.

The second half, is all about how our hero reclaims lost property (oops is that a spoiler now? ). Incidentally the second half is a battle between the politician Adi and Rajnikant over how each usrps the others property.

Final Take

1) Lacks finesse in the direction
2) The movie is a formulaic adaptation pandering to the masses
3) Logic is screwed, especially the robin hood one, where he asks all tax payers to give the black money to him so that he routes the money to give it to the poor to build colleges. Shankar has left emotions overtake sense in this movie, with his addiction towards social issues.
4) Audio not too compelling to have you hum the tunes as you get out of the theatre
5) The movie will be a SUPER HIT, because the audience comes in only for Rajini’s moves and not for the story. By the way, don’t search for a story after you have made it to the theatre. Any amount of google search would not find any satisfactory results.



6) Even as I am typing this, I hear “Rajnikant “ being compared to Amitabh Bachan in SUN NEWS. Though Rajnikant’s success in terms of days run can put any actor to pale in comparison, I would go on record to say that Rajnikant is only a fraction of what Amitabh Bachan or a Kamala Hassan in terms of emotive ability and versatility in dialogue delivery.
7) I have decided to cash in on the “RAJINI SIVAJI “ boom by using my MBA lessons to become a millionare by re selling SIVAJI tickets.

Rajnikanth, not quite Marlon Brando yet.... but yes, Keanu Reaves has got some body giving him a run for his money!


Bouqets and Brickbats can start flowing

6/13/2007

Podcast Interview with Sunil Nair, CEO of Nautanki.tv



Mr Sunil Nair, is the CEO of Nautanki.tv, which claims to be South Asia's first Online Video Media Network. They webcast programs / episodes / segments on an ongoing basis in the short format. In the various sections of nautanki.tv you will find humour, thrillers, drama, short films, documentaries, indie productions, satire, political commentaries, religion, spirituality and body and soul.



Mr Sunil, had also authored a fiction novel called
Chatroom Blues in 2003 and a non fiction novel in 2004 called Footloose in God's Own Backyard.

Sunil Nair speaks to Kartik Kannan on Nautanki, his business model and Internet Advertising and money making on the internet through uploading videos

The Interview- Part 1







Part 2






Part 3






6/11/2007

Interview with Albie Morkel(South Africa)


Albie Morkel

I happened to meet up with Albie Morkel, the rookie South African Pace bowler, during the Afro Asia Cup. Here is a small 2 part Interview with him





First a heads up about him

"Albie Morkel, like Lance Klusener, is a right-arm fast-medium bowler and left-handed batsman. He rose to prominence playing for his provincial side Easterns against the touring West Indians in 2003-04 when he defied food poisoning to score a century and take five wickets at Benoni. Ray Jennings, his provincial coach and a former South African wicketkeeper, predicted some time ago that Morkel would become a world-class allrounder, and Morkel was promised his first taste of international action when picked for the tour of New Zealand in 2003-04. Morkel comes from a cricketing family, with father Albert having played for Transvaal B and brothers Malan and Morné having represented SA schools. Morné also plays for Easterns."

Source Cricinfo





THE INTERVIEW : (Taken on my Sony Ericcson W550 i Mobile Phone)


Part 1




Part 2


6/07/2007

6/04/2007

One Heck of a weekend


This Weekend, I am totally pressed for time. Podworks, India's biggest Podcasting Workshop is there on the weekend and in the evening on Saturday,we have a Beach house party at a resort on the East Coast Road.Click here to Listen to the music of the Podworks Tune

The Beach would provide ample oppurtunities to interact with like minded folks from the social media Industry and the beach house under the moon should be a great way to spend the night.



If That was not enough, there are more events that would attract me. That would be the Afro Asian Cup happening in Chennai with a double header match up on the weekend. Watching cricket at the Chepauk stadium has always been my favourite pastime, as it's an awesome experience watching the match and feeling the pulse of 30,000 people at the same time. Since 2002, after the introduction of the Electronic scoreboard that relays slow motion replays, has now made combined the home effect of watching the match.









Sachin is not there, but still its the spirit of cricket that matters amidst the din and chaos of the crowd at Chepauk. The last match I watched was the India Seniors Vs India B at the Chepauk, last October(Challenger Series), where I managed to get lucky, sneaking through to the players enclosure, managing to speak with Sreesanth and Harbhajan Singh, who were frustrated by the rain that had ruined play. What also helped was an excuse at work, saying I had an "urgent" work to attend, which brought me to the stadium at 4 pm.


Apart from that, I also need to prepare hard for my Financial Accounting terminal exam at College(Monday).
The mid term exam, a couple of days back was a disaster and there is all speculation that the second one could be more serious.Need to hit my Books :-)








Big Fat CEO Salaries!


When Manmohan Singh asked the CEO's of Indian Inc, to take a cut in their salaries, I was watching the news with unabated interest as, the whole objective of my MBA, was being debated.Though one does get into an MBA for better job profiles and more senior roles, the lure of the money is paramount, even though it is not explicitly stated.


I personally am not of the opinion that Salaries can be legislated as it is a product of the demand dynamics of the marketplace. Moreover, given that we have very few business schools of quality in the country(Not more than twenty), it is tougher to find people with excellent skill sets for the top management, and as Mr Sunil Bharti Mittal points out, the Indian Salary levels of Top level CEO's pale in front of the salaries offered to top honchos in the Asia Pacific region.


Coming back to the salary comparison in the Asia Pacific, CEOs in fast-rising India are among the lowest paid with an average base salary of $89,759 and annual total cash of $111,510 on average. The average base salary for CEOs in South Korea amounts to $384,123. Cash compensation, including bonuses and other payments, adds another $568,502 on average,while CEOs in Hong Kong receive $250,707 in average base pay and $352,520 in average annual total cash, making them the second highest paid in the region.


"Compensation has long been driven by such factors as historic pay levels, size of economy and competition for talent," the Business Times quoted Mercer's Steve Gross as saying.

(Data from Mercer Report).


So India has a lot to worry about expanding the economy and the last thing they need is to make the CEO's take a paycut.I think The PM's message was more so in view of the wealth inequality in the country.... It's the in-your-face expenditure that hurts the have-nots. He meant ostentatious display of wealth should be avoided, so that the wealth disparity is not so marked to have aspersions cast.


But if one were to look deeply into what Manmohan Singh said, the CEO paycut could make India a more dynamic economic powerhouse. Why you may wonder? Here goes...


The sharp rise in executive pay in the US and the UK has to do with a large variable component in the form of stock options. The argument for stock options is that by giving executives a long-term stake in their firms, it aligns incentives closely with performance. This is fine in a context in which firms, especially large firms, are run by professional managers, but given the Indian corporate landscape which is heavily dominated by family-managed businesses and public sector firms, CEOs in family-managed businesses and others at the top being from the family, have large equity stakes in their companies. They receive substantial dividends that are not taxed in the recipient’s hands. Why would they need to pay themselves huge salaries?


Where the CEO is a family member, we need to have a built-in mechanism for moderating executive pay. The CEO does not need a big pay packet in order to deliver performance — his equity holdings provide all the incentive he needs. Once the CEO’s pay is pegged at a reasonable level, reining in compensation down the line is not difficult.


The presence of the public sector in several areas of the economy provides a cushion against soaring pay in the private sector. Family businesses may have to compete for professionals with foreign firms who can offer internationally competitive pay. But they have access to high quality talent in the public sector where compensation is way below that in the private sector. The public sector is appropriate to use private sector compensation to demand more pay. Maybe it is time to reverse the paradigm. How about benchmarking private sector compensation with pay in the public sector? There has been vast improvement in the market value of several PSUs in the post-reform period. How do managers in PSUs rise to great heights without the bait of six-figure salaries and stock options? Perhaps, it is appropriate to recall text-book principles about motivation — pay matters but there are other elements as well, such as the challenge in the job, the culture of the firm, recognition, etc.


One needs to see whether the variable pay schemes in the Indian corporate world are related to absolute increases in share price or increases relative to the market or peers? If the former, we have might have a recipe for disaster. In a booming economy that is exposed to foreign inflows, increases in share price may not be strictly correlated with company performance. Stock option schemes can easily yield undeserved gains to corporate bosses.


So after seeing both sides of the argument, I have decided I need more data to analyse this pay cut conundrum, which has got me all the more excited, as in a few years time, the pay cuts issue is something that could easily affect some plans of mine.


Article Composed after inputs from Business Line, Economic Times and The Hindu

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