Tuesday, April 21, 2009

On Friendship...

I have previously written about friendship here. But that was a partial thing... One of my reader Vidhya sent me this ... Very true and thought of sharing it with you all ... 

People come into your life for a
reason, a season or a lifetime…
when you know which one it is
you will know what to do for that person..

When someone is in your life for a REASON, it is usually to meet a need you have expressed. They have come to assist you through a difficulty, to provide you with guidance and support, To aid you physically, emotionally or spiritually. They may seem like a godsend and they are. They are there for the reason you need them to be. Then, without any wrongdoing on your part or at an inconvenient time, This person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end. Sometimes they die. Sometimes they walk away. Sometimes they act up and force you to take a stand. What we must realize is that our need has been met, our desire fulfilled, their work is done. The prayer you sent up has been answered and now it is time to move on.
Some people come into your life for a SEASON, because your turn has come to share, grow or learn. They bring you an experience of peace or make you laugh. They may teach you something you have never done. They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy. Believe it, it is real. But only for a season.
LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons, Things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation. Your job is to accept the lesson, Love the person and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and areas of your life. It is said that love is blind but friendship is clairvoyant.

Thanks Vidya for sharing this. 

Sunday, April 19, 2009

You are here to be happy...

In these times of economic turmoil, Coca-Cola has brought out an excellent ad of a 102 year old man talking about all good things in life.. 

The defining statement - In the end, you will remember the good times.. 

Watch it for yourself.. The oldest Spaniard meets its youngest.. Thanks to Antony Robbins for sharing this. 

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Music Post - Someday - Celtic Woman

As regular readers of the blog would have observed that I havent shared any music with you these days, thats because Musicmazaa my favorite music sharing site has disabled the feature due to heavy loads on their servers ;)

I would like to share the video of a song called - Someday by Celtic Woman an Irish troupe. It is about hoping for a better future. Though I feel that 'now' is all that we have and we are always perfect and there is nothing new required for us to be happy, I enjoyed the song very much. Listen to it and enjoy. Lovely song..

Lyrics here. Couldnt copy them here. Thanks for the links Ketan

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Three Must Read College Speeches

Zig Ziglar says - "Motivation doesn’t last, but neither does taking a bath. That’s why we recommend it DAILY"

Everyone could use a little motivation. Here are three speeches given for college students which gems of wisdom and a lot of motivation.. 

Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish - This speech was given by Steve Jobs, the CEO of Apple Computers. A must read speech. Read it here. If I have to take one line of it, this is it - "
Your time is limited, so dont waste it by living somebody else's life.

Fringe Benefits of Failure & Importance of Imagination - This speech was given by the JK Rowling, the author of Harry Potter series. "
Failure meant the stripping away of the inessential. I stopped pretending to myself that I was something other than what I was and began to work on finishing the only work that mattered to me.
" Read the full speech here .  

Keep the Spark Alive - This speech was given by Chetan Bhagat, the author of Five Point Someone and other famous novels. Biggest take from this speech is "
As you grow older you will realize you are unique. When you are little, all kids want Ice cream and Spiderman. As you grow older to college, you still are a lot like your friends. But ten years later and you realize you are unique. What you want, what you believe in, what makes you feel, may be different from even the people closest to you."
. Read the full speech here.

Monday, April 13, 2009

In Defence of Google - On its role in Newspapers Problems

With the falling circulation and ad revenues, the newspaper industry is unable to make its ends meet. This problem is more pronounced in the developed countries where internet penetration is high. Newspapers satisfied a need of knowing whats happening around us in the world. Though this is a need, it is not so important that people pay any amount of money for obtaining it. More so if the news is general political or daily news which does not have great value as it changes daily and yesterday’s news is not generally uselful. The case is different with niche media which has specific audience and a little more shelf life than a daily. Thus people will not pay more than few dollars (in the US) or few rupees (in India) for reading that news. Previously, newspapers were able to subsidize the costs of newsprint with the ads they put in the paper and ofcourse the small subscription amount which amounted to something. The advent of internet affected the news papers in many ways than one.

1. With the ability to publish information virtually free, more stories are published about any incident without any cost.

2. With the ability to update the information realtime, the need to wait till the next day or next edition of newspaper is gone.

3. With the information already available online before the newspapers and read, people found reading newspaper the next day redundant resulting in reduction in subscription numbers of newspapers resulting in loss of revenue for newspapers

4. With more people reading the news online and ability to target the ads more effectively, the ad dollars moved online thus resulting in less ads on the newspapers resulting in further loss of revenue.

All these conditions sort of reinforced each other resulting in daily newspaper business becoming unsustainable.

The newspapers have to recognize that their business model is no longer effective. It is not that they did not provide any value to the customer, but whatever value they have provided is being provided at a lesser cost and in a better way to the customer. Thats why the readers are willing to leave the printed newspaper in favour of online editions of the news. People in the newspaper industry, rather than understanding the fact and trying to adapt are trying to blame google or trying to protect their content.

But is blame game on google right? Google provides value to the people. It allows us to know which is the best story a particular topic to read. As there are lot of publishers on the net, google does a very valuable job of filtering the news and provide the best of them. Nick Carr says

Wow. “A billion clicks.” “Millions of dollars.” Such big numbers. What Google doesn’t mention is that the billions of clicks and the millions of ad dollars are so fragmented among so many thousands of sites that no one site earns enough to have a decent online business. Where the real money ends up is at the one point in the system where traffic is concentrated: the Google search engine. Google’s overriding interest is to (a) maximize the amount and velocity of the traffic flowing through the web and (b) ensure that as large a percentage of that traffic as possible goes through its search engine and is exposed to its ads. One of the most important ways it accomplishes that goal is to promote the distribution of as much free content as possible through as many sites as possible on the web.

Yes google does that, it organizes the information in a best first manner and it is an enormous service to the people, it does it for free and it is best for the end user. Hence customers and I love it.

The problem is not Google, but their failing business model - The internet has disrupted their business model and now they have to figure out a new business model. Ofcourse, changing their robots.txt file and not getting indexed in google is not at all a solution, but blaming google or trying to extract money from it is also not. So what is the solution? Unwittingly this google-bash post has a solution.

The key to Google’s monopoly control over content distribution on the web is its ability to judge what’s most relevant in an increasingly large sea of content. If media companies want to compete with Google, they need to look at the source of its power — judging good content, which enables Google to be the most efficient and effective distributor of content. They also need to look at Google’s fundamental limitation — its judgment is dependent on OTHER people expressing their judgment of content in the form of links. Above all, they need to look at sources of content judgment that Google currently can’t access, because they are not yet expressed as links on the web.

So they understand that the ability of google to judge whats relevant is their problem - and the simple solution is that if their content is the best they will be rewarded always isn’t it? If the newspapers can give the speed, flexibility and ease of usage and unique content then newspapers can get money. But newspapers compete on ubiquitous content not unique content and I am not sure how much value they will add in reporting facts.!!! This is the whole problem, you have to differentiate yourself to charge more or otherwise why will users pay to you when there are people who are willing to report for free in their blogs?

Current news is always interesting and internet makes it easy to publish and discover. Newspapers which used to do this are not relevant in that segment. Niche papers will continue to to make money. I think the subscription model will not work for normal newspapers as who will be willing to pay for a thing that can be obtained for free? Does it mean that newspapers have to die? They have to adapt to a lean and mean way of doing things. If they differentiate themselves, engage with people and develop a brand, people will come to their site directly without going to google by subscribing to rss feeds or email alerts.

I wondered what we are going to miss by the going away of newspapers? What about the investigative journalism that newspapers do? And seths post on this topic clears all my doubt on that he says -

Punchline: if we really care about the investigation and the analysis, we’ll pay for it one way or another. Maybe it’s a public good, a non profit function. Maybe a philanthropist puts up money for prizes. Maybe the Woodward and Bernstein of 2017 make so much money from breaking a story that it leads to a whole new generation of journalists.

So whats the conclusion ? Newspapers will not remain the current form. Newspapers which embrace the way of doing things on the internet will thrive and grow, others will fail but we will never miss them.

Update: Another post here in support of google

Update: A post here on how the newspapers can earn money. I think this is spot on. And I am sure they will surely be making more money on internet

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Kung Fu Panda - An absolute treat..!

Today I saw the movie Kung Fu Panda on the big IMAX screen and let me tell you the feeling is awesome... This was my first experience of watching a movie on IMAX and with the mesmerizing visuals of hills, lakes, sky and valleys thrilled me very much and I thought the 200 bucks for the movie were well spent. Not only that the movie is a delight to watch. It has an inspiring story, memorable dialogues and breathtaking animation. An absolutely must watch film.

Story: Po is a big fat panda who is the son of noodle making duck famous in the Peace City (where the story takes place) for his noodles. Po's father publicizes that he has a secret ingredient which he puts in the soups which make them so tasty. He expects Po to become a even better noodle maker after him but Po is interested only in Kung Fu. 
The Peace city is guarded by five great Kung Fu warriors who are trained by master shifu who is a student of Master Oogway (the great warrior who invented kung fu as shown in the movie). Master Oogway has a dream where in he sees that the evil Tai Lung  escapes from the prison.
Some background here -  Tai Lung was adopted and trained in Kung fu by master shifu. Shifu expects that Tai Lung will be made the dragon warrior and will be given the dragon scroll which has the secret to unlimited powers. But Master oogway sees evil in Tai Lung and refuses to give it to Tai Lung. Angered by this, Tai Lung tries to take it by force and is neutralized by Oogway and placed in a high security prison. 
Oogway tells that Tai Lung will escapte to Shifu and asks him to arrange a competition to choose the dragon warrior who will  defeat Tai Lung. Po who is interested in Kung Fu wants to see the competion but his father makes him to go and sell noodles there. But by the time po arrives the door of the Jade Palace, the door closes and in a desperate attempt to watch the selection of the dragon warrior, Po straps himself to  a chair of crackers and lights it and he suddenly falls in front of Master oogway who selects him as the Dragon Warrior. Unable to think of the big fat panda who doesnt even know the basics of Kung Fu as the dragon warrior, Shifu tries to scare him and discourage him into leaving the place. Even the other five warriors try to do the same but after meeting with master oogway, Po decides that he shouldnt quit and makes friends with five warriors with his humour and cooking. But Shifu is not at all convinced and cant even think of him as the dragon warrior but master oogway before leaving extracts a promise from Shifu that he will have confidence on Po and train him. So Shifu comes to train Po but as Po feels that Shifu doesnt trust him and wants him to leave, he is not interested in getting trained and tries to escape. Shifu convinces him and tries to teach him. After observing that Po can do everything for food, Shifu successfully trains him in Kung Fu using food to entice him into doing everything he needs for the training.  Meanwhile, the five warriors try to fight off Tai Lung but return defeated. After the training Po is given the dragon scroll. Po opens it to find nothing except a golden screen reflecting the face of the viewer, even Shifu doesnt find anything in it. Disappointed at the apparent lack of power in the scroll, Shifu asks the five warriors and Po to evacuate the Peace city while he will tries to stop Tai Lung as long as he can. Po returns to his father feeling rather down. While trying to console his son, Po's father says that the secret ingredient in the sauce is nothing, Po understands that the message of the dragon scroll was also nothing but to have confidence in himself. So he goes back to the palace where Tai Lung is fighting shifu. Tai Lung sees that Po has the dragon scroll and tries to get it from him but Po tries to tell him that there is no secret in the dragon scroll. After some time Tai Lung himself sees that there is nothing in the scroll, but by that time as po realizes that it is only his confidence plays the 'Wuxi finger hold' trick. Tai Lung asks Shifu would not have taught him that trick but Po says that he has 'figured it out'. Wuxi finger hold is a trick familiar to every warrior in kung fu and it is said that 'cleaning the mess after the shot is messy' meaning that the body will be blown to many pieces. Tai Lung belives this and is blown off by Po who understands that this is just a mind trick. Thus Po becomes the dragon warrior and all the five other warriors accept him as their master. Thus po realises his dream of becoming Kung fu warrior. 

There are many memorable dialogues in the movie used in various occasions which really touch us. 

1. Sorry doesn't make noodles: This is said by Po's father to his son when he doesnt make noodles. It tells us not to be too apologetic but get on with our work to get it done. 
2. One often meets with his destiny on the way to escape it. : This is said by Master Oogway to Master shifu, who tries to avert the escaping of Tai Lung by increasing the prison security. This means that we cannot escape our destiny so we should rather try to live it rather than escaping it. 
3. There is no accident: This is also said by Master Oogway to master shifu on more than one occasion, once when Shifu says that Po was selected as the dragon warrior by accident. It means that whatever happens, happens according to a plan and we should be at peace rather than trying to think of it just as an accident and trying to ignore it. 
4. You concentrate too much on what was and what will be : This is said by master Oogway to Po when Po is disheartened by the treatment meted out by the five warriors and Master Shifu during the first day of training: It means that we are thinking too much of either the past or the future wasting the current time. Oogway also remembers 'Yesterday is history, Tomorrow is a mystery but today is a gift. That is why it is called the present.' 
5. A real warrior never quits: This is said by Po to master Shifu when he tries to discourage him and make him quit. Even after bearing lot of embarassments meted out by Shifu, Po stubbornly refuses to go away. It tries to tell that once you have decided what you want to do, we should never ever quit. Rest if we need to but never quit. 
6. There is no secret sauce: This is said by Po's father to him when he is disillusioned by  seeing nothing in the dragons scroll. Po's father trying to console him says that there is no secret sauce in his famous noodle reciple. It means that there is nothing out there. We have to have confidence in ourself. It is inside us.. True isn't it? Just trust ourselves and the universe.. Everything happens for a reason ... There is no accident.. :) 

On the whole a great movie on the giant screen. The scenes of Tai Lung's escape from the prison, Tai Lung's fight with the five warriors and the going away of Master Oogway as petals in the stars are visual treats on IMAX. Must watch on giant screen...

Friday, April 10, 2009

To This Government I Vote

My company is conducting a competion on 'My Vote goes to' ... As the readers of the blog know, development of our country being one of my passions, I decided to submit an entry. 

This is what I am planning to submit 

My government is one which doesn’t make me worry about security, terrorism, power cuts or bad infrastructure but provides a healthy environment where I can mind my own business.

My government is one which doesn’t fragment the society based on caste, religion or region but recognizes all are created equal and provides a level playing field for equitable development.

 My government is one which doesn’t stop with providing temporary relief like handouts when calamities strike but work towards eliminating the root of the problem to provide permanent solutions.  

My government is one which doesn’t stunt growth through reservations and quotas but gives everyone the confidence and empowerment to break the shackles and grow in the world.

My government is one which doesn’t make availing basic government services a dreadful thing but makes it a pleasure by eliminating corruption and automating processes.

My government is one where the disabled or people unable to work are not made to feel that world is a bad place to live but are given confidence that they can not only live with dignity but serve uniquely.

My government is one which works more to provide better education, livelihood, healthcare, security and faster justice to its people than thinking of each as a business to make money.

My government is one which doesn’t get caught up in petty religious or personal issues, but work on promoting sustainable livelihood and world peace.

My government is one which has grand vision for the county and is willing to lead the citizens towards it by encouraging research and innovation.

What other things can we give to the government?? 

Monday, April 6, 2009

Vote For LokSatta

People dont need pity or handouts.. What they want is confidence and equal opportunity. Each person is and has to be responsible for his life. Dont encourage parties who think they can make people live their lives without taking that responsibility.

Go OUT and VOTE... If you dont vote, you have no right to complain...

I personally prefer LOKSATTA, as it is the only party that understands that it has to make people responsible for their progress and governments only role is to create an equal opportunity ground.

Yes there are people who are needy and for whom a more direct financial help is absolutely required - but that shouldnt be the only goal, he has to develop where he should be able to fend for himself as well as become a contributor.

Vote, take people to vote and vote responsibly.

Update: watch this slideshare presentation how Loksatta is different from all other political parties