I, The Absolute

Archive for December 4th, 2005

Distance gives perspective

Posted by itheabsolute on December 4, 2005

Consulting and Investment Banking interviews are amongst the toughest. While all those that prepare for these interviews will not get through and find their dream roles, preparing for these interviews will never hurt. Because by preparing for these interviews, one is prepared for all other interviews. The preparation will also ensure that the person does a recap of the entire courses.

Yash, a colleague and consulting job aspirant, essays to profile mock case interview experiences and other must-know details to appear for consulting interviews. He has started a blog to capture these. His efforts will be supported by various others preparing for consulting interviews. Have a peek into the blog at Consulting@ISB. If you are a consulting aspirant, be sure to bookmark this page.


To continue, I am quite compelled to write about the power of the context. The reference to the topic is not the first time, nor will it be the last. Bill Gates is the richest. How much do I care? His riches do not inspire me to improve my performance. But, if my neighbor wins a lottery or gets a promotion, I will spend some time thinking about it. If a D sectioner gets all “A” grade in all core courses, I really would not care. But if my group mate gets a few marks above mine, I would start worrying. The influence of context can never be overestimated. Why do half of the students on campus wants to get into consulting? Not sure, if all of them have answers to the questions – why consulting; does your profile fit with consulting, et al. But resisting from the temptation to apply / prepare is something which is difficult to achieve. And the temptation is supplied by the context – 200 students who are applying for consulting jobs.

Let us fast forward. Six months after graduation. A person did not make it to consulting, but joined another industry. What would his priorities be? Consulting will be last on his mind. His priorities will be to benchmark with the best guy “around” and surpass him. Or something similar. Such is the power of context.

Distance gives perspective. It is quite important to distance oneself from the context to be able to make the right decision. Another of the easier said than done types.

PS: The title was drawn from a sentence in Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie

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Books and IPR

Posted by itheabsolute on December 4, 2005

Intellectual Property Rights is a hotly debated issue, particularly so in the emerging economies. Corporations have billions of dollars of R&D budgets. After having spent such huge amounts in discovery and innovation, if they cannot recover costs and make decent returns what incentive will they have to continue with research activities. If they have no incentive to continue with research, then how will we find cure for many diseases and other problems in the world. I am a strong votary for IP protection to the companies involved in discovery and innovation, particularly to those companies that spend huge capital. IP is important in these cases because corporations exist only to improve shareholder wealth. And in the process if they do good to humanity, there is no harm in paying a premium.

I am not a person who wants to believe in something just for the sake of it. I have heard arguments concerning topics such as IPR, elementary education, that these are non-negotiable. Hardly so.

Debates on making patented drugs for epidemics such as AIDS, Bird Flu, etc available at much cheaper rates are highly relevant.

About books i am quite clear. Provide IP rights. If they are violated do not crib. Why do authors write books? To make money. Sure. But is it the only motive. Or is money the only reason why authors are remembered. No. Authors are more remembered for the ideas they generate. Any idea is not worth its place, if it is not dispersed. Ideas are not born out of vacuum. Invariably, every idea has an origination in some other idea. I know more about science than Newton knew. Does not mean I am greater than Newton. I started from where Newton ended. Since ideas are always an extension of some other idea/s, granting intellectual property rights on ideas is, after all, not a great idea. There are many great books that many people ought to read but cannot afford to buy. What is the harm in violating IP in such cases? The author has made his money. If the idea has spread wide because of pirated books, the author, sure has become poorer, but has become more popular because his books are now widely read and his ideas well appreciated.

I am not a great fan of pirated books. They are quite lousily made. But if some one is a bibliophile and cannot afford to buy,say, The World is Flat for INR 750, what is the harm in buying one for INR 100 on the footpaths of Hyderabad or Mumbai. Friedman has earned enough riches. His popularity ain’t come down, surely. And what he wrote were not his original ideas either.

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