Thursday, July 30, 2009

IIM to Ganjdundwara - A Tale of two MBAs

How many of us have experienced the rural life? This was my question 5 years back and what we wanted to do was to experience that rural stint. I still remember the narrow muddy path towards the lake side that I and Hari walked in a remotest village called Surshettikoppa in Hubli district of Karnataka thinking of doing what is required for the underprivileged. What we did there during our visit was a different story all together. But now I am going to introduce you to the book “IIM to Ganjdundwara” - A must read book for all those who would like to create value for the Rural India. A must read for all the young leaders and a compulsory read for all MBAs. I was not even aware of this book even though it got released in January 2008. Well, better late than never; but in my case, it was much better than ever!

IIM to Ganjdundwara is an awe-inspiring journey of two IIMA students. We have been reading many books of IIM folks on their career and life stories. This book is also one among them which has got the kind of impact-oriented and gives a touchy feeling story. Author of the book Rohithari Rajan has put his life into this book to make it evolve inspiring for others.

The story looks very fascinating, but, I know how it is to experience the rural life. Having accustomed to the city-party-luxury-comfortable-life, experiencing the not-experienced life is always challenging. This story is about two Project Trainees from IIM travelling to a village called Rangpurgaon near Ganjdundwara, Etah district of Uttar Pradesh to experience the 2 months of rural life. At the end of the two months, they are required to submit their project report to their company HLL (now called HUL) on what is the value that they can create for that village.

Rohit and Shyam begin their rural stint staying at the village head - Martand Tiwari’s residence which becomes their guest house for the period of 2 months. Nothing-to-do kind of job; what-can-we-do-here? Kind of feeling; the only job is to roam around and get used to the muddy village without access to emails and mobile phones.

Shyam is an Engineer from IIT and Rohit’s background is Economics. The story beautifully draws attention of the reader on how they both get along well even though their background and intentions were different in life. Every character in the story is filled with life and it can exist in every other village of India. Rohit writing a book during his free time and creating imaginary characters out of nothing but relating it to the Da-Vinci Code or a harry potter, creating the character Tara who can exist in everyone’s life; Shyam’s capability of thinking differently to get a solution for the problem, trying to find a solution to the women SHG Group to create a value using his skills, struggling with his own love story challenged by caste differences; Anuj – Martand Tiwari’s younger brother trying to find the difference between the city and the village folks and getting fascinated over doing MBA, his crave for loving a girl and getting married, his protection for Lalu who loves a girl Manju of a different caste; Martand Tiwari the head of the village and his culturally enriched service to the guests at home, the way he handles the village panchayat meetings and his relationship with the villagers; Savithri Devi – the head of the women SHG (Self Help Group) and her struggle for betterment of the group and creating livelihood. These are the main characters of the story.

Rohit has a very good sense of humor which is very much evident in his writing. Simple incidents like - the whole village going behind Shyam and Rohit to get them a bicycle from the nearest village; villagers surrounding them when they switch on their laptop and ask them to repeat the same video song again and again; an idea of a villager buying this TV box (Laptop) from Shyam and fixing it to his tractor; Shyam and Rohit standing in front of the whole villagers and facing the rapid fire round of questions on why are they not married yet? – All these made me burst out of laugh during my interesting reading in the Volvo bus journey. The narration is very simple and it would appear as if we are reading someone’s dairy. You will not feel like closing the book once you start. You will definitely like it.

The best part of the story was the productive output in terms of a clear value creation. I had read a lot about IIMs and their talents although I do-not-like the brand IIM, both Rohit and Shyam are extraordinary people. The outcome of this rural-project life is what we all know and talk big about. It is the HLL Shakti Program – A business initiative that creates livelihood opportunities for the underprivileged rural women. Yes! They created many such Savithri Devis by giving them access to the resources and taught them how to sell products. They won villagers hearts!

But the story ends dramatically with the bloodshed that takes place because of the communal clashes. Killing of the girl Manju who used to love Lalu of the different caste and Shyam ending his life with one gun shot while fighting for Lalu and the Caste System of India. I do not know how many IIMs or how many MBAs or how many young leaders fight to get freedom from the same. But what we can do is things like what they tried doing as a life-project.

So IIM to Ganjdundwara has inspired me with the essence of value creation and bringing change to the economy. This has inspired me to take up a new project.
Go get a copy for yourself!

Monday, July 27, 2009

A Cobweb Life

Where are we? And where am i?
I question myself everyday
complexities taking over the limits
following the steps… leading to an end!
proximal distinction in every goal
Breaking code in the spinning world…
What the hell?’ a voice within
Seeing the good but taking bad…
into the reality and a zero-sum game!

Blinking face and nothing new
clumsy walk… thinking of the good
waiting for the one to hear them out
on the whole, a fairy tale!
plausibly impossible and get convinced
to come out of the possibility
that a new life begins new again
amidst the adventures in and out!

Where am i? And where are we?
same voyage again but a journey within
struggling hard to set it free
relying upon a host to see!
see the walk and be the change
remain the untouched to let it be
disclose the courage to grow up
and come out of the COBWEB life!

Srik

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Are you an Outlier?

Midas Touch! Every one of us would like to lead our life in the ‘Midas touch’ way isn’t it? We always look forward to see Success in our lives. And that success makes you an Outlier!

Outlier is the latest book I read. It was so outstanding that I read the full book in four sittings in two days. The author who already had two of his bestselling books in the market: ‘The Tipping Point’ and ‘Blink’ – Malcolm Gladwell has put in his heart and soul in his latest work Outliers. This is a book about Outliers, about men and women who do things that are out of the ordinary.

I was impressed with the way Gladwell writes after reading his work on ‘The Tipping Point’ which produced the turnaround stories of many things that we see in the world. It showed how little things can make a big difference. In Outliers, Gladwell has beautifully created the new story for the success. The definition of success is a very subjective matter, and Malcolm Gladwell, posits a theory that success is not based on ambition or intelligence, but rather from culture, ethnicity and unexpected logic, among other things.


It talks about secrets of geniuses, business tycoons, rock stars, and Software programmers, students, remarkable lawyers, best pilots, talented Asians and many other professions. After reading it, I am now trying to relate the way I was brought up and the way I look at things at this point in my life and my expectations on all the aspects of my life.

It is so true that whenever we hear about successful people, we tend to ask what made them successful. That is exactly what Gladwell has tried to communicate in this book. His brilliant efforts and his outstanding research on this topic has given him enough content to argue over the ‘success’ in life. Once you read this book, you will certainly come to know what makes successful people. What are the factors associated for the success and the like. He has classified the chapters into two categories: Opportunity and Legacy.


First category - Opportunity talks about how lucky the successful people were in getting the right opportunity at the right time. Not only getting opportunities, but also how effectively they could manage to convert them into results. One aspect that amazed me here is that most of the successful people followed the “10000 hour rule”. It is the number of hours of practice required for any person to succeed in whatever he or she does. It has been substantiated with a lot of statistics and true stories as well. I wonder how many hours of practice I have put in for my life and into what?


These stories include - the one who was lucky enough to get an opportunity to get access to a computer at his early age which could turn his life around to create the mighty ‘Microsoft’. Yes that was Bill Gates. He was lucky to get access to a computer when he was at thirteen years of age and eventually become entrepreneur. It was just the right opportunity and right time. There were lot many people who had not got access to what he got and they were unlucky enough. Else imagine how many such Microsofts we would have today?


Same way Bill Joy, who cofounded Sun Microsystems, got a lucky break at the right time at the University of Michigan. The opportunity was big enough as he was one of the first students who got access to get into the newly created Computer Center opened in 1971 at the University campus. And like others, he could practice beyond 10000 hours on what he loved to do.


Few more stories under this category explain the patterns of successful people. Like in Canadian Hockey League, most of the successful players are born in Jan, Feb and March months of a year. Surprising? Yes. It’s the pattern that’s shown in the statistics. And it is because of a valid reason of the cut-off date for the eligibility for the Canadian hockey team every year. That allowed them hiring and grooming only those players who were born during the first half of the year. Interesting isn’t it? It was again the opportunity and exposure to get the right coaching in their life. Imagine how many successful hockey players Canada Hockey League would’ve produced if there was no such silly cut-off?


Story on Beatles – John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr - talked again on opportunity at the right time. It even emphasized on the 10000 hours work rule. They could easily get to practice by performing at the Hamburg (strip club) which eventually led them to success.


Two stories were on how does it matter to have a high IQ? Or will it not matter if you are bright enough with less IQ. Here the story explained is of the troubles we face with the so called geniuses with their IQ levels. Chris Langan’s story is impressive to read. It tells us not just the IQs matters for success, the secret behind how one got the high IQ, family background and the like. Story on Oppenheimer who was the noble prize winner and founder of ‘Atom Bomb’ is also very impressive - that how a guy who had the tag of ‘tried to kill his tutor in his school’ in his resume turned into successful scientist given the rich and educated family background. It was just one opportunity and he made effective use of it.


Three lessons from Joe Flom – a successful Jewish lawyer is a very good learning in terms of how Flom became successful not being hired during the campus interview at the Harvard Law School and eventually became the top one lawyer who deals with acquisitions in the wall street of America. In this chapter we learn the three lessons, one on the importance of being a Jewish – it talks a lot on immigrants in America and their success in early late nineteenth century, family tree of lawyers and advocates in America and their connectivity to the roots of garment business and immigration, and finally the demographic luck.


Most touchy story in this category was of the secret of Communication and cultivation! It is on how effective the kids were brought up and what was the family status. It argues that Children of so called rich-people class get exposed to good communication skills and preparation for every event in their life. They start asking questions aggressively and they communicate and express whatever comes to their mind to keep themselves comfortable. Whereas, children of lower middle class or the poor class will never get that kind of upbringing; because of their poor background and lack of access to good knowledge. It is so true. You must read the story to get a good feel of what matters for ones success right from their early ages.


Second category: Legacy talks about how the cultures, family background, demography determines success in life. It starts with the interesting story of ‘Culture of honor’ where we can see the genital link in our behaviors. A few communities even now, relate to their background in their behavior wherever they go. If they have an aggressive family background, they will be aggressive in their life which eventually may lead to a success or a failure. All they tend to do is to protect the ‘culture of honor’. If they do not do that, it is like insulting their own culture. Based on this there are lot of studies and reports.


The second story in this category will give us a sense of how demographic traits and improper communication lead to failures. This is a story on Korean Air failing again and again because of its carelessness in effective communication between the pilot and the co-pilot. All because of the culture they were brought up. You will figure out when you read this story. Story eventually ends as a successful turnaround of the Korean Air.


The third story is on the hard work and the talent developed through that hard work made Asians to top in the Mathematics. The hard work again comes from their cultural and traditional background of cultivating and relating it from their culture of growing Rice Paddies. It is an interesting relativity that is created in the story.

Most impressive story of the whole Outliers book is the story on KIPP. KIPP public school was an experimental initiative in the mid 1990s in America. KIPP stands for ‘Knowledge in Power Program’ and it was founded by David Levin. This initiative was to give education to the lowest income groups of America. Their interesting protocols, quality of education, commitment to service, identifying gaps in the current system, emphasizing on original work gave them success and now KIPP has 50 branches in the United States. Their initiatives like reducing the summer vacation and giving more access to knowledge for their students turned them around. It is known for its Mathematics against all the other schools which did not focus on it. At KIPP, they focused on Mathematics, English, Speaking and writing skills to the maximum. KIPP is, rather, an organization that has succeeded by taking the idea of cultural legacies seriously. Marita’s bargain – the story title – is so wonderful to read and you will feel so good to read about how Marita bargains on what she wants from the school and how committed she was to get the things that she wanted from KIPP to eventually become a Accounting Major in her career. It is the story of the miracle school that transforms losers to winners. There is one more story at the end which is Malcolm's own family story of Jamaica, its interesting past, support system a family can get and the commitment to the society.


Opportunities at the right time, 10000 hours of practice, Patterns in life, Communication, Access to knowledge, Family background, Cultivation during the childhood days, Demography, Culture of honor and the Achievement gap – all these combines to the secrets behind success of any person.


I strongly suggest reading this beautiful book to enjoy each and every story. After which we can learn and apply these stories to our own lives to become Outliers!


But now I am trying to identify what is it that I have done all these days and where will it lead to? What is that O-factor behind me (factor of Outlier)?


Srik

Thursday, July 9, 2009

ತುಂತುರು...!

ಹೊರಬಂದೆ ನಾ... ಚಿಲಿಪಿಲಿ ನಾದ ಕೇಳಿ!
ತಂಪು ತಂಗಾಳಿಯ ಈ ಸುಂದರ ಮುಸ್ಸಂಜೆಯಲಿ...
ಗೋಧೂಳಿಯ ಈ ಸಮಯ... ಕೂಗಿ ಕರೆದಿದೆ ಧರೆಯ...
ಸ್ಪರ್ಶಿಸಲು... ಸವಿಯಲು...ನಲಿಯಲು...ಕುಣಿಯಲು...


ಮೈಮರೆಸುವ... ಆ ಮತ್ತಿನ ಸುವಾಸನೆ...
ತಲೆ ಕೆಡಿಸುವ... ನೆನಪುಗಳ ಚಿಂತೆ!
ಮತ್ತೆ ಕಾಡುವ ಆ ನೋಟಗಳ ದೃಶ್ಯ...
ಕಪ್ಪು ಕಾರ್ಮೋಡದ ಈ ನನ್ನ ಸಂಜೆಯ ಆಟ...


ಕನಸುಗಳು ಹಲವು... ಆಸೆಗಳು ಸಾವಿರಾರು!
ಮಿತಿಯಿರದ ಬಯಕೆಗೆ, ಒಂಟಿತನದ ಅದೃಷ್ಟ...
ಜೊತೆ ಯಾರೆಂಬ ಕಾತುರತೆಯ ಕೇಳಿ, ಕೂಗಿದೆ ಒಲವು...
ಜಾರಿದೆ ಮನ ಈ ಸಿಹಿಗನಸಿನ ಪ್ರೀತಿಯಲಿ!


ಮನವು ಹಸಿಯಾಗುವ, ಪ್ರೀತಿ ಹೂವಾಗುವ ಸೊಬಗ...
ಹಂಚಿಕೊಳ್ಳಲು...ಕರೆದೇ ನಾ ನಿನ್ನ ಭುವಿಗೆ...
ಕನಸು ನನಸಾಗಿಸಿ... ಮೈಮರೆಸಿ ನನ್ನ...
ನನಗೇ ತಿಳಿಯದಂತೆ ನಿನ್ನ ತುಂತುರಿಗೆ ವಶವಾದೆ!

ಹೊರಬಂದೆ ನಾ... ಈ ತುಂತುರು ಮಳೆಯಲ್ಲಿ!

ಶ್ರೀ...

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Stay Hungry Stay Foolish!


It is so inspiring to even read the title. We have heard about this statement from many people including Steve Jobs in his commencement speech at Stanford University and now the new excitement which I just loved to do is reading the book “Stay Hungry Stay Foolish”. This book is about the inspiring stories of 25 Indian Institute of Management, Ahmadabad graduates who chose to thread a path of their own making.

I promise you, you start reading the book; you will get goose bumps while reading it. It is just awe-inspiring to read about the successful entrepreneurs. This book categorizes the stories under 3 heads: “the believers”, “the opportunists” and “the alternate vision”. Rashmi Bansal – the author of this book, has brilliantly executed this work and the way she went on interviewing with entrepreneurs and getting this book done is inspiring. I salute her spirits in creating such a wonderful book which could help so many budding entrepreneurs just by reading it.

Few weeks back, I got an invitation on my Gmail from the Barcamp group saying that there is an event in Royal Orchid on July 2nd and IIMA is planning to set up its Centre for Incubation, Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIIE) in Bengaluru. The objective of CIIE is to assist all the budding entrepreneurs in Bengaluru with their mentoring program. Since the invitation was open for all entrepreneurs, not only IIM Alumni, we thought of attending the same. More than anything, I saw Rashmi Bansal is releasing her book in Kannada version. I just wanted to meet her once and thank her for the wonderful creation.

Today the event started at 6 pm as scheduled and we could see a lot of entrepreneurs walking in. There were many IIT and IIM alumni who were all looking forward to contribute their bit to the entrepreneurial fraternity. As we walked in, the feel itself was so good that we started interacting with people. I could get to meet good people and surprisingly few of them were working on the same areas on which even we are working on. The hottest area and the successful business model these days is the area of “Education”!

We were told during the event that when they started this project, they were not looking at the number of copies to be sold and they certainly did not have big number in mind to sell. But it was surprising to hear that it is one of the highest numbers of book copies sold of any of the IIM Publication. It has reached the number of 1 Lakh copies in India. They actually released the 100001th copy today. And it is also getting translated to many languages on demand. It was released in Guajarati and today it got released in Kannada and it is coming up in 5 more regional languages. All this is happening out of demand; People are approaching them to get it translated in their regional languages. Is it not great? It is not priced heavily as well. It just costs 125Rs if you buy a hard copy and if you do not want to pay, you can download the e-copy from their website for free of cost. I was just so happy about their commitment in spreading the awareness on entrepreneurship in such an inspiring way. This was the reason I wanted to meet Rashmi and thank her.

While she was sharing her views on stage, she read out couple of emails she received from readers which were quite interesting. One person had thanked her saying he quit his company after reading this book and ventured out with in no time on his own. And there was one more interesting story wherein he purchased this book without knowing much about it and ended up starting his own venture. Yes! I do agree that if you read all the 25 stories of this book, you do not feel like what you are doing currently. All you do is to think on your own to create your own to contribute to the fraternity.

After the event, I went to Rashmi, thanked her for this wonderful work.

Other than that, the event was very helpful and CIIE is a great initiative to be in Bengaluru so that many of the budding entrepreneurs like us would get access to good resources and mentorship.

So! Please read the book and get inspired by the stories.

Stay Hungry Stay Foolish!

ಮನಸ್ಸಿನ ಹಾಡು!

ನಿನ್ನ ಆ ಕುಡಿ ನೋಟವ ನಾ ಎದುರುನೂಡುತಾ...
ಮಾತನಾಡದೆ...! ಮಳೆಯಲ್ಲಿ ಮೌನವಾಗಿ...
ನಿನ್ನ ಆ ಕುಡಿ ನೋಟವ ನೆನೆಯುತಾ...
ಮಳೆಯಲ್ಲಿ... ನೆನೆದು... ನೆನೆದು...
ಹಾಡಿದೆ.. ಹಾಡಿ ಹಾಳಾದೆ...!

ನೀ ಸನಿಹ ಇದ್ದಾಗ... ಮಾತನಾಡದೆ!
ನೀ ದೂರ ಹೋದಾಗ... ಮೌನವಾಗಿ!
ಈ ನನ್ನ ಮೌನವ....ನಿನ್ನ ಜೊತೆ.. ಹಂಚಿಕೊಳ್ಳಲು...
ನಿನ್ನ ಎದುರುನೋಡುತಾ! ಮೌನವಾಗಿ...!
ಮಳೆಯ ಮೋಡದಲಿ... ಮರೆಯಾದೆ...!