Tuesday, June 26, 2007

sADistic

You are walking around in an aquarium. You are happy to be there with your family. You admire the wide variety of fish swimming around you, happy in their own worlds, with their own families. You have had an early breakfast today and start thinking.....

"That fish looks so neat. I wonder what it'll taste like!"

You place an order for the fish to be fried and sent to your table. The fish now exists in bits and pieces in your tummy.

End of aquarium visit ....er...picnic .....er... carnage

Displayed at a restaurant at Albert Dock, Liverpool
I know it's not exactly the same in the ad above, but I am sure we are not far away from the day when this will be reality. We are almost there!

I am glad I was raised as a vegetarian. Now I continue to be one purely by choice.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Suki

I am fond of cartoons. And I am partial towards Indian authors. So when an Indian comes up wtih a comic strip that someone like me can totally relate to, I can just stand back and drool and enjoy the subtle and not so subtle puns.

Here are some of my favourites

On Mumbai's taxiwalas.....

Mumbai's noise pollution

Mumbai's monsoon

Mumbai - Bombs and Real estate
Mumbai - condition of general infrastructure!

Indians and racism
GWBE signing off. Next post from UK!

PS: Do buy Suki by Manjula Padmanabhan! She will keep you entertained for sure. A small warning: Expect a lot of crazy :)

Thursday, June 07, 2007

The MBTI test, RUP and Marriages in India

MBTI (Myers Briggs Type Indicator) or the Jung test - the famous personality test that puts all of us into one of the sixteen buckets based on our personality at that moment. I was introduced to this test by my HR professor, Fr. Cyriac at IIM Kozhikode. I used to look forward to his classes eagerly as most of them contained such activities which let you discover more about yourself.

One such day, sometime in 2004, I took this personality test and was pronounced to be a classic INTJ - a Mastermind Rational.

So that was my personality snapshot at the moment. There's a reason why I said at the moment.

The only man I know who behaves sensibly is my tailor; he takes my measurements anew each time he sees me. The rest go on with their old measurements and expect me to fit them. -George Bernard Shaw, writer, Nobel laureate (1856-1950)

Change.

No one escapes it. I took the same test today. I am an "ISTJ" or "Trustee" now.

ISTJ - "Trustee". Decisiveness in practical affairs. Guardian of time- honored institutions. Dependable. 11.6% of total population.

That's change in your face. For all I know, in some years, all the four letters will end up being different. It will be something like a personality makeover :)

MBTI or other similar personality tests are widely used in the following situations all around the world;

1. To choose a career most suited to your personality

2. To discover how your personality type fits in at work

3. To identify the various conflict areas within a team.

4. In personal counseling

5. In job interviews

6. Admission to the MBA course by S P Jain

The list would go on.....

Now something for the geeks....

RUP and the MBTI

For those of you to whom RUP is just another acronym, here’s a small brief. RUP or Rational Unified Process is an iterative approach to software development pioneered by Rational and now IBM. It is one of the in things to mention if you are looking for a job in the IT field.

RUP clearly specifies the different roles involved in building software. But this article here goes on to mention how by using the MBTI test you can build the perfect RUP team for your project.

For example, it advises that you take an NP person for certain roles and an SJ person for certain other roles. And say goodbye to team conflict :)

Not a bad idea!


So what about marriages in India and MBTI? What’s the connection?

Nothing, as of now!

Marriage industry is one of the booming online industries in India. Ask anyone in the ready-to-tie-the-knot bracket - he/she would have multiple matrimonial profiles. And there are eligible bachelors who would spend their entire day searching for the perfect match on these numerous sites.

This is how it works as of now (at least in most cases). Once you find your perfect match (touch wood!), you proceed to get your horoscopes matched. Nowadays, you also do the HIV test, just in case! Financials are discussed. Both the families meet. The compatibility tests end there.

If these matches were fool-proof, we wouldn't see so many divorces or conflicts happening here, would we? But they do happen! So where’s the gap?

What I feel is, along with all these traditional tests, why not include some proven personality tests too? Throw in something like an MBTI test and check whether the two types are compatible. You can even check whether you know anyone else with the same type and whether they are in your good books. Even if all the other tests match and your personalities don't, an ugly conflict is bound to surface sooner or later. Your horoscope might not be able to tell you that – but a personality test might just be able to!

Take the MBTI test here (paid) or here (free) and let me know your type!

Friday, June 01, 2007

The Longer tail?


A restaurant business or being a successful writer?

Lately, so many people around me have been quitting their comfortable jobs with 7 figure salaries and perks to follow their uncertain adventures or, as they put it - their dreams. Makes me wonder - Do I really want to do what I do now for the rest of my life? Not sure. But I do know what I definitely want to do in my life before I cease to exist here.

Write a book and get it published.
Run a restaurant.

That's all. Easily said. Now all I need to do is, get to work and do them.

I work in one of the TOP MNCs in India. And typical to all MNCs is the bench concept - a time when you are supposed to work on enhancing your skills. So here I was scouting our library for any skill-enhancing books. I came across this book titled The Long Tail by Chris Anderson. A highly suggested book by one of my professors in IIM K, I decided to read for pleasure than to enhance my skills. And I did.

This book is an article beaten and stretched into 226 pages. You can easily read just the article The Long Tail that is quite famous and not miss anything. But the idea that Mr. Anderson conveys is so relevant in our internet driven world today that you would want to finish the book. Quite a page turner, this is.

A not so long something about The Long Tail

The concept of the long tail, drew in part from an influential February 2003 essay by Clay Shirky, "Power Laws, Weblogs and Inequality" that noted that a relative handful of weblogs have many links going into them but "the long tail" of millions of weblogs may have only a handful of links going into them. Anderson described the effects of the long tail on current and future business models.

Anderson argues that products that are in low demand or have low sales volume can collectively make up a market share that rivals or exceeds the relatively few current bestsellers and blockbusters, if the store or distribution channel is large enough. Anderson cites earlier research by Erik Brynjolfsson, Yu (Jeffrey) Hu, and Michael D. Smith, who first used a log-linear curve on an XY graph to describe the relationship between Amazon sales and Amazon sales ranking and found a large proportion of Amazon.com's book sales come from obscure books that are not available in brick-and-mortar stores. The Long Tail is a potential market and, as the examples illustrate, the distribution and sales channel opportunities created by the Internet often enable businesses to tap into that market successfully.

An Amazon employee described the Long Tail as follows: "We sold more books today that didn't sell at all yesterday than we sold today of all the books that did sell yesterday."

After reading this book, whenever I hear about someone quitting to start on their own, all I can think is whether a Long tail is feasible in their business. Like Anderson points out here, what a Long tail definitely isn't, most of them don't fit into that category. But almost all internet related businesses fall in that category. For example, there's no limit to the number of songs/books/movies that can be provided to the public out there who seem to have an appetite to gobble up almost everything. True, there might not be many takers for an old and obscure song from your parents' teenage days, but by providing access to this song to anyone who might be interested, the revenue you get from it far outweighs your cost. In this case, your cost is almost nothing - another 2-3MB space on a server, which doesn't cost much for you when you have already invested in the server. And people are so different and insatiable, you cannot fail! There WILL be someone who would want that song.

Let's look at this blog. If you draw a graph with all the blogs in our blogosphere in the X axis and their daily traffic in the Y axis, mine would be somewhere at the far end of the long tail. But still there is a small number of people who consume this blog. And for them, it matters. And that's what makes the long tail successful.

So which has the longer tail? A restaurant or a successful book? Well, both of them can't have a very long tail by their very nature. Maybe I should write the book first and use the proceeds to start the restaurant. Or maybe I should start the restaurant first on all my savings and then write the book. I really don't care about the tail. All I want to do, is just do them both. So look out for me. And do me a favour by buying my book and bringing your family for a dinner at my restaurant :)