I, The Absolute

Archive for September, 2005


Posted by itheabsolute on September 12, 2005

Which is a good way to network? Is networking good at all?

Initially, I thought that one needs to network in a big way. Say hello to everyone, acquaint with one and all, and build a huge database of names, phone numbers, addresses and e-mail addresses. But as I thought about it and tried to practise it, two things constantly came in the way of it. One, my own nature of not really being an extreme schmoozer; two, the benefits of such networking did not really convince me.

As I thought more about it, I realized that when I am in position of importance, network would happen around me. Is it that people only who want to take advantage of me will network around me and people who would matter to me would not be a part of the network? Not necessarily. When I am in a position of importance, people whose help I may need will not mind coming forward to help. Because they know that when they need my help I will reciprocate. Are benefits (personal or professional) the only reason for networking? Absolutely, yes.

At the same time, I am not advocating a style where making acquaintance is a no-no. Acquaintances – made when one himself is not in a position where he can give something in return – will not matter when one needs them the most. A few strong friendships are better than a large network of acquaintances.

As far as friendships and making a big circle of friends goes, I would further prefer making “someone one” happiest than trying to make many around happy. Life is much more fulfilling when I concentrate my affection on one person than spread it across people. I am okay as long as I know who that one person is.

Networking, just for the sake of it, may, after all, be not the best thing. The time invested in networking may be better used somewhere else. Think about it!

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The power of apology

Posted by itheabsolute on September 9, 2005

I know that there is a book by this name. Though I have not read the book, I guess I can relate to what it has to say. I speak from experience, both mine and others’ around me.

I have seen paradigm shifts when an apology has been tendered. People who have been hurt when we accidentally hit them no longer feel the pain. People who have been aggrieved no longer feel the hurt when we go and say sorry. A simple mail or a telephone call with sorry as a message can convert an enemy into friend. The apology has to be genuine. But, sometimes, I won’t mind using apology to make up, even when I really don’t feel genuinely apologetic. The reasons are simple – the satisfaction and benefits of making up and being able to make someone else happy.

If happiness was as simple as tendering an apology away, why is there so much of agony, so many disputes, so many arguments, so much of rupture of hearts and feelings. People call it ego (as it is usually understood). But it is usually a false sense of pride.

The person cannot go and apologize because he thinks that the other person will think that he has accepted his mistake and is shameful of what he has done/said and thus can be braded an awful person. But, what actually would happen is that the person to whom apology has been tendered starts feeling guilty about having been aggrieved in the first place (he will start searching for reasons why he felt aggrieved) and not himself having initiated the process of rapprochement. I don’t say this will happen in 100 per cent of the cases, but generally this is what will happen.

In interpersonal relations, there is no more powerful method to resolve strain in relations than apologize. The matter about which the conflict had started will no longer be relevant or even remembered.

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Posted by itheabsolute on September 7, 2005

There is no reality in the world. There are only perceptions. The perceptions are colored by the experiences that we have gone through. We usually hear what we want to; see what we want to. Even when we see something new, it is only an interpretation of our own view of the world.

I have to go. I want to go.

The difference in the above sentences is not just lexical. The difference refers to the way we have come to think. Even where the latter sentence is appropriate, we use the former. Many things in life are done voluntarily, not perforce. But the language that we use is so much structured in the ‘compulsion’ paradigm that repeated usage of such language reinforces that we are living in a world where free will is absent

Have heard of many definitions of Economics, but one which most appealed to me was – it is a study of incentives. How appropriate! Economics is all about individual incentives. People make choices, which sometimes may appear not beneficial to themselves, but only end up maximizing their incentives. Giving a tip to a waiter at a restaurant to which we may never return may make our wallet lighter, but will surely make our hearts lighter too.

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Posted by itheabsolute on September 6, 2005

I have been getting mails seeking certain clarifications and advice on profiles. While I will try and reply to each one individually, I request that all prospective applicants read the blogs of the ISB students to get an idea of what life is like at ISB. The best site to get access to all the blogs of ISB students is this : Bharani

I will also encourage the applicants to read the following posts in which I have tried to cover some generic questions. Sometimes, too much of analyses leads to analysis paralysis and the probability of action drops significantly. It is important not to give a deaf ear to the gut feel / intuition part of our being. While you do all the analyses, I will urge you to hear to the feeble, yet prognostic, voice of your inner-self. Sometimes decisions ought to be made from the gut, not from the cerebrum.

The philosophical underpinnings of Why MBA

Playing Richard Montauk

Resume Making


NPV of an MBA

Some Existential Questions

MBA Experience

Wishing Godspeed for the applicants on their applications.

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Posted by itheabsolute on September 6, 2005

ISB is participating in the World MBA tour in the US. The following are the details of the date / time / place / venue

11 September 1300-1700 Los Angeles Wilshire Grand

13 September 1800-2100 S Frisco Hyatt

15 September 1800-2100 Seattle Bell Harbor Intl Center

17 September 1400-1800 NY Hilton

25 September 1400-1800 Toronto Metro Toronto Convention Center

01 October 1300-1700 Houston Hilton

Mr Menon, the director of Admissions & Financial Aid, will be at these venues.

In case any prospective applicant is from these cities / the US , please use the opportunity to get clarifications from the man himself.

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Impossible is nothing

Posted by itheabsolute on September 5, 2005

The ‘adidas’ punch line is good. We are usually limited by imagination than by knowledge. Most of the people have requisite knowledge. Knowledge is acquirable as well. Not easily imagination. Given that there is so much of information overload, it is not easy to have time for imagination. Remember, information is about what ‘is’ and not what ‘can be’. Letting the mind go off into the realms of what ‘is’, not what is ‘yet’ or not ‘easily’ possible is a good way of enriching it. Two things which can enable this are – visualization and thinking in a language that is rich (read, English). To go even further is to invent new words to represent our new thoughts, like James Joyce’s Ulysses.

Life is about choices

Life is about choices. Every choice has an alternative. Sometimes, nothing is right or wrong. There are no rights and wrongs because what is right to someone can be wrong to someone else. Every choice, thus, has to, and usually does, emerge out of individual thinking, needs, values and compulsions, if any. Every time we make a decision, we give up the choice to make alternative decisions. So, it is ‘we’ who ‘choose’ to tread a path. We will leave the discussion that every choice is half-chance for some other time.

Datum, datum everywhere. Even i am one.

It would not be science fiction to write that the entire world is coming under the grip of numbers. Everyone is today a piece of data – a consumer, a patient, a passenger, a student, a worker, a husband, a wife, a couch potato, etc. No longer a human being.

It is difficult to provide convincing proof of any argument without supporting it with numbers. Data are the most important attribute of a report; the ability to interpret them, the greatest skill of the human mind.

Wal-mart claims greatness not just because it is the largest company in the world, but also because it has access to billions of data pieces in the form of information on customers. The data are more than the entire bytes that are available through internet. Wal-mart can use all these data to look at how people behave, rather how people are. Using these data, it can work backwards to change what people can do, or should do.

PS: Term IV starts tomorrow. For the first time since i came to the school, my mind is in the least receptive state. I, for one, really dont enjoy term breaks. They spoil the rhythm.

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Cause-Effect Approach

Posted by itheabsolute on September 1, 2005

Plato invented dialectics. Just by questioning – mostly starting with Whys – he and his disciples reached, at least thought they reached, the truth.

Much later, a Japanese management thinker, Ishikawa, created a cause-effect approach / diagram to know the root cause of a problem. An example of this is –


Q. Why do you say that the car that we manufactured does not like strawberry ice cream
A. Because whenever I buy a strawberry ice cream, the car would not start

Q. Why only strawberry ice-cream
A. Every time I go to a shop to buy ice cream I buy either a vanilla ice cream or a strawberry ice cream. Whenever I buy vanilla ice cream, the car starts. But whenever I buy strawberry, the car would not start

Q. Why do you think these two are related
A. Because, other than the type of ice cream, I do not see any other variable operating which can cause the car not to start

Q. From where do you buy the ice cream
A. XYZ shop

Q. When do you go to buy ice cream
A. During nights

Q. Are both the ice creams bought at the same place
A. Yes, usually

Q. Usually? But is there any other factor that you think is different between buying these two ice-creams
A. Yes, there is one. The vanilla ice cream is given to me from the freezer which is near the door of the shop. Strawberry ice cream is usually stored in the store-room from where it is brought and given to me

Q. Do you think there is good enough time difference
A. Not much. Maybe, five minutes

Q. Do you think there is any other difference
A. The prices of these ice creams are different

Q. Okay, any other
A. No

A. Then it appears that if the car is stopped for more than five minutes, which is the case when you buy a strawberry ice cream, the car does not start.

Here the complainant started with a unusual remark about a car, which remark almost appeared stupid. But on further probing led the car manufacturer to identify a minor but an narking defect in the car. If the complaint was ignored, the car manufacturer would have paid a dear price in loss of sales.

In fact, Ishikawa thinks that only five questions can do the trick and lead one to the right answer.

Generalizing, Life does not give easy clues always. It needs effort and patience to find out the right correlation/association(cause-effect) so that we arrive at right conclusions, which further lead us to right, hopefully gratifying, solutions.

I think this approach has a great application in life. Try and apply to ‘what do I want to become in life’, what gives me happiness’, ‘what matters to me most’ ‘why MBA’, etc type of questions

PS: The above incident happened with a US car manufacturer.

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