Friday, November 25, 2011

the beautiful tree

Excerpt from the book 'The Beautiful Tree' by James Tooley

I say without fear of my figures being challenged successfully, that today India is more illiterate than it was fifty or a hundred years ago, and so is Burma, because the British administrators, when they came to India, instead of taking hold of things as they were,  began to root them out. They scratched the soil and began to work at the root,  and left the root like that, and the beautiful tree perished. 
That was Mahatma Gandhi during his visit to London on October 20, 1931. 


Thursday, November 24, 2011

Festival Cow

Excerpt from the book 'The Beautiful Tree' by James Tooley

The government, the principal told me, had said there were no funds to rebuild. Ruefully, he also told me that Nigeria got 18 billion naira (about $140 million) from the World Bank for universal basic education. "Where is the money?" he asked. None of it was apparent in his school. It was all like the parable of the festival cow, he said: The chief wants to celebrate and so gives a cow for the celebrations. The butchers take their cut as it were, so we now have the full cow minus the butchers' cut. Then the cooks take over, and they take their cut too, so we now have the full cow minus the butchers' cut, minus the cooks' cut. The waiters then take their cut, so now we are left with the full cow minus the butchers' cut, the cooks', and the waiters'. "That's like the education budget," he said: "We hear there are funds in the budget, but we don't see it in our community. We don't know where the money goes."


James Tooley's discussion with one of the government school principal in the Lagos State of Nigeria. It explains the problem clearly. And it does not vary too much in India or in any other developing countries I guess. 

Surely a Festival Cow!


Thursday, November 17, 2011

the A

Excerpt from the book Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson:

For most things in life, the range between best and average is 30% or so. The best airplane flight, the best meal, they may be 30% better than your average one. What I saw with Woz was somebody who was fifty times better than the average engineer. He could have meetings in his head. The Mac team was an attempt to build a whole team like that, A players. People said they wouldn't get along, they'd hate working with each other. But I realized that A players like to work with A players, they just didn't like working with C players. At Pixar, it was a whole company of A players. When I got back to Apple, that's what I decided to try to do. You need to have a collaborative hiring process. When we hire someone, even if they're going to be in marketing, I will have them talk to the design folks and the engineers. My role model was J. Robert Oppenheimer. I read about the type of people he sought for the atom bomb project. I wasn't nearly as good as he was, but that's what I aspired to do. 

Jobs goal was to be vigilant against 'The bozo explosion' that leads to a company's being larded with second rate talent. He was always looking for the A rate players. And no compromise on that in anyway. 

(Woz - the co-founder of Apple)

Wonder how many of those at the top or those who are named 'leaders' worry about hiring only A players? or how many of them even invest their time in converting the B players to A. The point is to have only A players in the team. And hence if I am a C player, will I not be trying to get into the A category? 

I like the aspiration to have only A players in the team. 



Excerpt from the book Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

Why do we assume that simple is good? Because with physical products, we have to feel we can dominate them. As you bring order to complexity, you find a way to make the product defer to you. Simplicity isn't just a visual style. It's not just minimalism or the absence of clutter. It involves digging through the depth of the complexity. To be truly simple, you have to go really deep. For example, to have no screws on something, you can end up having a product that is so convoluted and so complex. The better way is to go deeper with the simplicity, to understand everything about it and how it's manufactured. You have to deeply understand the essence of a product in order to be able to get rid of the parts that are not essential. 

Jonathan Ive, describing his design philosophy at the Apple's design studio. Ive is one of the closest soul mates of Steve Jobs who shared his values about the design and their quest for true rather than the surface simplicity.

I used to always think there is a lot more to just being simple or calling it simple. And it rang a bell when I read this paragraph.

Simple cannot be simply simple. 


here's to the crazy ones

Excerpt from the book Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

Here's to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They're not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can't do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.

The Think Different ad of Apple. Truly so!


Sunday, November 13, 2011


tender and sweet
in my hands
long time past

a feel, a glimpse
i connect to
i still see

the music
and every breath
still that hmmm

the touch
that real one
touched' ...forever

a crazy feat
that made us
frozen 'n me

that joy
and is

to be now
and to be

to my self
open now

a picture
be left


Sunday, November 6, 2011


a lot
to say and do
dare and to act
a far away moon
and a dark evening 
to head on 
a mountain pass
to the shine
get to a closer self

is to just 'be'