What Caused the Financial Crisis? Don’t Ask an Economist

What Caused the Financial Crisis? Don’t Ask an Economist: "When the experts disagree at such a fundamental level, the public can no longer trust what it hears, and that leaves it vulnerable to people peddling all sorts of crazy ideas."

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Jobs Meets Woz | 1 of 24

Jobs Meets Woz | 1 of 24:

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India outsourcing 2.0 begins | mydigitalfc.com

India outsourcing 2.0 begins | mydigitalfc.com:

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Adieu Steve Jobs. You paved the way!

Perhaps one of the saddest moments of my life. Steve Jobs was more than just a figure to look up to. He was an exemplary non-conformist and all it takes to challenge the norm just starts there. Born of an American mother and a Syrian father, he was bought up by his adopted parents. Apple was 90 days from going bankrupt when he joined them. He built the Mac and then could'nt sustain the sales; nor the team - mostly because of his temperamental nature. After a failed board coup initiated by Jobs in mid-1985,  John Sculley, his CEO announced he and the directors had agreed on a new org chart for Apple, in which Steve had no managerial duties whatsoever. He was only to remain chairman of the board.Steve was stunned. Apple was his life, and he was kicked out of it. He started traveling around looking for new ways to spend his energy. It was actually in that second half of 1985 that he was introduced to a small team of brilliant computer graphics experts that George Lucas was trying to sell. They all shared a common dream of making animated movies with computers. Steve was interested and he eventually bought the company for $10 million in 1986, incorporating it as Pixar.Pixar only hit gold with Toy Story and Steve Jobs, who owned 80% of the company he put on the stock market; was a billionaire in no time. 
In 1996, Apple's newly appointed CEO, Gil Amelio, was looking for new software to replace the old and bloated Mac OS. He eventually chose Steve’s NEXTSTEP( the company he formed after he was kicked out of Apple). Apple paid $400 million to acquire NeXT, and Steve was back to the company that had thrown him out a decade earlier. His official title was that of “informal adviser to the CEO". When Amelio announced Apple’s losses of $700 million for the first quarter of 1997, the board decided to get rid of him. Steve Jobs organized a board coup and was named interim CEO of Apple in July 1997. He immediately started an extensive review of the whole company, cutting the number of projects from hundreds to a dozen. The number of hardware products would be cut down to just four. He also made a shocking announcement at Macworld Boston in August: Apple would be teaming up with its arch-rival Microsoft, in a deal that would put an end to interminable patent disputes.Steve Jobs led Apple to profitability in 6 months. Disruptive innovation with ipod, the MAC and then the ipad; no one else could've done what Steve Jobs did! Hats off to the greatest innovator of   our times. And here's a link to celebrate the man who made our lives interesting!  Top 10 Unforgettable Steve Jobs Videos. You made History!

Googrola! on a Roll?

Google enters the big, bad,  thankless, low margin world of  manufacturing. And they pay a 12.5 Billion in cash for it!. Over the last few days, analysts, bloggers, industry subscribers, anyone who has an opinion has looked at every aspect of this acquisition; whether to shake their heads at the incredulity of the proposition or disbelief, only to come back to the question that begs all analysis. How will the Android market behave now? The factors effecting this behaviour will be manifold. However, an analysis of Google's decision is pertinent to go into any further analysis of the ramifications of this deal.
Google made an important decision. The impact of this buyout, ( however small in comparison to the At&T's acquisition of T- Mobile) is perhaps going to determine the way companies do business over the next few years. Motorala, apart from holding 29% of Android market, also holds around 17000 patents in its name. Enough to fight back the Microsoft, Oracle and Apple suits with. How does that work? So now Google will say - hey we infringed your mobile patent with x, but lets look at it; you infringe ours with z,v, n. 17,000 patents is a lot to work with. Patent attorneys make a field day now. However, with Motorola's own patent fights and if those decisions play out before the formal inking, though its a far cry, but there may be a possibility that google's acquisition may end up being not allowed to be imported into the United States. Yet, the other greater possibility on the upside is that Motorola's massive portfolio may serve as a bargaining chip for platform-wide licensing agreements.
Does this decision hurt HTC and Samsung interests? They have serious competition and maybe they will start exploring other platforms; but this acquisition has made Android a safer playing field for them, since they were being attached in the patent wars. However, how long the " defending Android" play is going to continue is yet to be seen. It could either be Android's domination or its demise. 
Google has pledged to ensure Android will remain an open platform and HTC's Peter Chou has asserted that HTC has no plans for creating its own platform for its phones; however the ability to create its own hardware with Motorola's infrastructure, adding about 19,000 people with hardware, supply chain and channel capabilities, Google has added a new dimension to its portfolio that will require to be optimized with its existing businesses. This is another integration of verticals, after the HP( hardware and software) unification with Web OS.

Android's  ecosystem has seen many upstarts, including LG, Lenovo, Acer, and ASUS. Dominated by the big three — HTC, Samsung, and Motorola, these upstarts have been fighting for a pie in the Android ecosphere. 
What remains to be also seen is how Google will retain its laid back , start up culture with these 19,000 focused people from Motorola, who are not used to a loose working environment of the college campus culture that Google has retained successfully through the 10 years of its existence. 
Important to also consider is that between the Microsoft - Nokia; Google - Motorola and HP WebOS giant creations, RIM  is slowly and surely losing steam and clearly losing market share. A new war has just started and this time its the mobile consolidation. 




Good Investments are Profitable Investments

Whats that got to do with earnings? Asked Groupon and many many little wannabe groupons in a myriad of investment opportunities plaguing the marketplace today. The maxim that businesses should become profitable  before they attain a certain size seems to be the measure of the valuation game.
So the VC on the block today are
a.looking for profitable ventures at early stages
b.looking for businesses that have kept their early costs low. So they  are profitable earlier
c. do not need a lot of financing to make it profitable

However, how many over hyped ventures across the startuposphere have viable business ideas? Unfortunately, valuation today is occurring on the basis of subscriber base for most the over marketed names.
So what is primarily happening is a roll over of hype based value and the sale to the largest fool who cares to pump millions into large databases of bored customers who are over patronized to be dumb enough to like the same thing till  they land their heads on the rock.

New Day of my Life

Today is a new day in  my life. Over the last few days, all the things that normally created demands and pressures in my life, now look pleasurable challenges instead of stress and frustration. So what changed? I kept a date with my destiny that I had been postponing for many years. Quality time spent with Spiritual Guru and my brother Arun Wakhlu. Not only have I achieved a new sense of self, but I have also rejuvenated myself to be an infinite human being safe from self- limiting beliefs. I learnt that as human beings what prevents us from achieving our self in its entirety, are self conceived notions about what our lives and its priorities are. I learnt to differentiate myself and my spiritual energy from the roles that I need to play in my daily dance of life and I learnt to accept the eventuality of my choices with grace. I learnt the process of cleansing myself from the past and the future and train how to live in "NOW". And most importantly I learnt to accept others the way they are, because I am the way I am. It has been such a life changing experience that I know I will spend some more time applying all my experiences in my daily life everyday as I use the training to practice over the coming days of my life. One thing I will not need to practice is the fact that I will always feel gratitude towards my wonderful, beautiful family, my brothers, my sisters and my friends, who have always , by being who they are, taught me humility and gratitude for what I have and what they give me. So, here come the new concepts in leadership and management change. From the heart.

Ten to Three?

While the over optimistic Indian Government and officials have been blaring off roof tops about the ever shining India, you and I - and the common man; is silently wondering if they are living inside a figment of their own imagination. So bipolar is the situation that, marketing does not seem to meet the packaging requirements; and input does not create the output expected. Such is the world's tenth largest economy; soon to be ( projected) the third largest economy of the world.
I have never seen my opinion about the viability of this idea, oscillate, as it does now. And every day I experience the struggle to keep the hope floating on the surface. Hope that someone somewhere realizes the potential risk of a poorly executed , chaotic strategy of keeping the country moving forward.
As I said in an earlier post, another does of economic and policy reform is a must at  this stage if we have to project to the world an India that reposes the confidence of a long term player in the world economic arena.

Epic Fail?

We are taught to learn from experiences and then penalized for failure. Is'nt it the rule to stumble, fall, pick up our boots and march on? Yet, those who wear failure as a badge of honor, however spectacular they might have grown and fallen; find it difficult  not to be penalized despite their pluck and persistence. 
Do entrepreneurs, in their zeal and passion, forget to learn from mistakes? OD'ing on positivism, this seems to be generally a trait with serial entrepreneurs.Those passionate about their innovative business ideas, to have a tendency to under assess  the risks associated with a business idea. Is this because entrepreneurs are deeply emotionally tied to their ventures? So much so that  their passion makes them oversee the apparent risks? Does this imply that an entrepreneur who is emotionally and passionately possessed with his project, may run the risk of not being able to learn from mistakes ? Studies show that this is generally the case.  Ability to recover, recognize, learn and get back on course is perhaps the only way you can keep your entrepreneurial spirit high and still go ahead and  make new mistakes without fearing a fall. 

Nasty people in your Life !

I just got a call from an old colleague about the problems he is facing adjusting in his new work environment at the corporation he just joined in the Middle East. Resistance, Change Management are some of the issues everyone faces when they join a new environment at work. Another reason that most people feel unsettled and need to make an effort is because of the baggage that people normally carry from one work space to another. Processes, expectations, workflows, culture of organizations have such deep rooted impact on the process of adjusting to another work culture and environment that at times , it can become an inhibitory aspect of a move. And then there are the "nasty " people.   Usually people are mean and nasty because:

  1. they want things their way
  2. they don’t feel good about themselves
  3. they have low self - esteem and it makes them feel in control when they can hurt you with their actions and words.

If you are disturbed by nasty people around you , you are spending too much time and energy trying to find the reason for other people’s nasty behaviors. Take time to learn the best way to deal with different attitudes to retain your focus on being positive in life. Do not allow other people’s nasty attitudes get you down. And, do not allow people with difficult attitudes to keep you down.  Stay focused on the big picture while you are trying to work around people's behaviors. Its got nothing to do with you. And everything to do with them!

Did the economic liberalization pay off for India?

I was in a very interesting meeting recently with the CEO of the worlds largest medical devices company visiting India after a gap of 5 years. The first thing he asked me was how despite the growth, there seemed no improvement in public infrastructure and city development. A very herculean task, yet this is a question, the answer to which, we need to be able to not only field, but satisfactorily eliminate. Remember the then Finance Minister MMS, announcing policies of economic liberalization on TV. I was so young that apart from a feeling of apprehension at the sound of such a complicated word, manifest with possibilities, there was nothing else I could think could happen, to drastically change the insipid economy of the times we were born into. Interestingly, decades later, I read an early morning  Business Standard  where Analysts were calling for another round of liberalization of the Indian economy. Economic reforms to liberalize "sectors like education, agriculture, health care and in adoption of modern technology".  So therefore are we at the brink of a second generation of reforms? This would require liberalization  of  our insurance, banking and retail, strengthening of infrastructure, streamlining of the legal system, removal of corruption, improvement of the public delivery system and creation of credible social infrastructure. There is no moving ahead credibly if these issues remain a part of the daily life in India. 

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