I, The Absolute

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Impressions & Imitations

Posted by itheabsolute on May 11, 2006

Nothing much to write. Just scribbling down some thoughts – some mine and some someone else’s

1. People’s representative? Who can represent me; I am myself. I do not intend anybody to represent me – D H Lawrence

2. If it could have been done, it would have been done, provided it was tried. Since it is not done, either conclusion is possible. It cannot be done or it has not been tried

3. Knowledge is built on the edifice of leisure

4. Fedora complex – the fear of ageing. All will succumb to it

5. As many people so many minds/kinds

6. I want to live in the world on my terms – Hemmingway. That Hemmingway later committed suicide is a different matter

7. Happiness must be produced not merely consumed – G B Shaw

8. With the possible exception of equator everything begins somewhere

9. A great bliss is that the innermost thought CAN remain undivulged

10. ………..Physical comfort, indeed, is a precondition for further thought

11. I keep six honest serving men. They taught me all I know. Their names are what and why and when and how and where and who ….rudyard kipling

12. Style begins with imitation (dont know who said it)

13. Conscience is mostly a matter of convenience. On things convenient to us we can be moralistic. On things otherwise a little licence is always possible.

14. Of course, I do not believe in it. But I understand it brings luck whether you believe in it or not – N Bohr

15. We will do all that is possible now. The impossible will take a little longer – Anonymous

16. The idea of an agreeable person is one who agrees with me – Samuel Johnson

17. Success covers a multitude of blunders – Shaw

18. Our faults irritate us most when see them in others – A Dutch proverb

19. To a friend’s house, the road is never long – anonymous

20. What is common need not be simple

21. A rebel destroys the system; a revolutionary transforms it

Posted in Uncategorized | 12 Comments »

Impressions & Imitations

Posted by itheabsolute on May 11, 2006

Nothing much to write. Just scribbling down some thoughts – some mine and some someone else’s

1. People’s representative? Who can represent me; I am myself. I do not intend anybody to represent me – D H Lawrence

2. If it could have been done, it would have been done, provided it was tried. Since it is not done, either conclusion is possible. It cannot be done or it has not been tried

3. Knowledge is built on the edifice of leisure

4. Fedora complex – the fear of ageing. All will succumb to it

5. As many people so many minds/kinds

6. I want to live in the world on my terms – Hemmingway. That Hemmingway later committed suicide is a different matter

7. Happiness must be produced not merely consumed – G B Shaw

8. With the possible exception of equator everything begins somewhere

9. A great bliss is that the innermost thought CAN remain undivulged

10. ………..Physical comfort, indeed, is a precondition for further thought

11. I keep six honest serving men. They taught me all I know. Their names are what and why and when and how and where and who ….rudyard kipling

12. Style begins with imitation (dont know who said it)

13. Conscience is mostly a matter of convenience. On things convenient to us we can be moralistic. On things otherwise a little licence is always possible.

14. Of course, I do not believe in it. But I understand it brings luck whether you believe in it or not – N Bohr

15. We will do all that is possible now. The impossible will take a little longer – Anonymous

16. The idea of an agreeable person is one who agrees with me – Samuel Johnson

17. Success covers a multitude of blunders – Shaw

18. Our faults irritate us most when see them in others – A Dutch proverb

19. To a friend’s house, the road is never long – anonymous

20. What is common need not be simple

21. A rebel destroys the system; a revolutionary transforms it

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Impressions & Imitations

Posted by itheabsolute on May 11, 2006

Nothing much to write. Just scribbling down some thoughts – some mine and some someone else’s

1. People’s representative? Who can represent me; I am myself. I do not intend anybody to represent me – D H Lawrence

2. If it could have been done, it would have been done, provided it was tried. Since it is not done, either conclusion is possible. It cannot be done or it has not been tried

3. Knowledge is built on the edifice of leisure

4. Fedora complex – the fear of ageing. All will succumb to it

5. As many people so many minds/kinds

6. I want to live in the world on my terms – Hemmingway. That Hemmingway later committed suicide is a different matter

7. Happiness must be produced not merely consumed – G B Shaw

8. With the possible exception of equator everything begins somewhere

9. A great bliss is that the innermost thought CAN remain undivulged

10. ………..Physical comfort, indeed, is a precondition for further thought

11. I keep six honest serving men. They taught me all I know. Their names are what and why and when and how and where and who ….rudyard kipling

12. Style begins with imitation (dont know who said it)

13. Conscience is mostly a matter of convenience. On things convenient to us we can be moralistic. On things otherwise a little licence is always possible.

14. Of course, I do not believe in it. But I understand it brings luck whether you believe in it or not – N Bohr

15. We will do all that is possible now. The impossible will take a little longer – Anonymous

16. The idea of an agreeable person is one who agrees with me – Samuel Johnson

17. Success covers a multitude of blunders – Shaw

18. Our faults irritate us most when see them in others – A Dutch proverb

19. To a friend’s house, the road is never long – anonymous

20. What is common need not be simple

21. A rebel destroys the system; a revolutionary transforms it

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Entropy: The Manager’s Enemy

Posted by itheabsolute on May 4, 2006

Entropy is a dangerous reality of life. Any system unattended for sometime (for maintenance or improvement) will inevitably but steadily deteriorate.

Often times, it is said – well begun is half done. But most of the poeple do begin well. It is only a little later that people cannot cope with the pace or quantity or difficulty. Energy and Focus are required for two purposes – one to keep entropy away and two to improve things. Many times, the energy and focus given are not enough even to keep entropy away.

I had seen this happening during later stages of my course at ISB. Believe me, I had begun well. I was as organized as the word organized. But, the quantum and the rigor of the work made it harder and harder to keep abreast. Managing it and improving it was possible only after expanding time (by waking more hours), by moving away from my desk and routine to take a macro view of what i was doing (so that i could develop a perspective of the task at hand), and by sticking religiously to the purpose I had set.

Being purpose driven and developing a perspective about the task can go a long way in keeping entropy away.

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The Jargon Manager

Posted by itheabsolute on May 1, 2006

Ideas are not the prerogative of the b-school graduates. Anyone who can think or has time to think or even a ‘need’ to think can be as creative in generating solutions to the business problems he faces. The only issue is that if he is not a b-school grad, then he may not know that what he has thought about is nothing but, say, a Porter framework or his marketing plan is nothing but , say, 4Ps in action. He knows what margins he needs and how much cash he needs to generate to breakeven; but he may not know that what he is actually doing is an NPV assessment of his business.

A conspicuous differentiator between a b-school grad and any other person (assuming he is not into too much of reading) is that a b-school grad thinks about his problems in frameworks and explains his thoughts in jargon. But often times the jargon, instead of being a mere point of communication, becomes a source of showoff leading to confounding and miscommunication.

Here are a few of my ‘favorite’ pieces (not necessarily exhaustive)

Information asymmetry
Sustainable competitive advantage
Network externalities
Capability ownership (really don’t know what it means)
(Of course) core competence
Competitive market dynamics
Cost inefficiencies
Game theoretic
(The triplets) LBO, MBO and Mezzanine financing
(The ubiquitous) DCF
Value chain analysis
Porter’s five forces
Moral hazard

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Respect Facts

Posted by itheabsolute on April 29, 2006

A very important attribute usually associated with an MBA and more so with a consultant is that he is fact based. While developing an intuition on one’s own business is an important way of managing business, doing so at the cost of facts is a dangerous path.

Facts reveal a lot of things, including the biases and prejudices that people operate out of. There was a presentation being made by a consulting firm to us when we were at ISB. The firm was mandated by a board of directors of a company to give a plan to reorganize the company. The consulting firm gathered all facts only to realize that there was no way to bring back the company to be competitive. If at all the shareholders had money, they are better off investing the money in starting a new company rather than investing in the current one. The facts gave out such story. The consulting firm made a presentation to the board suggesting that the company be closed down. If the company itself were to do a similar exercise there was no way the board would have come to such conclusion because its biases and incentives would have come in the way of reaching the optimal and fact based decision. The fact based decision, in this case the closure of the company, will only mean one thing – not wasting any more of the shareholder money.

Respecting facts is an important way of adding shareholder value.

PS:

=I am not saying that the implications of a decision such as closure of a company would be as easy as making a recommendation / presentation. The repercussions could mean laying off a number of people, maybe violating industrial laws of the country, losing the company’s brand equity (if any) in the market, et al. But the issues of continuing with running the firm will bring its own set of problems.

=Gathering facts also is not easy. We can never get all the facts. We usually sample. What samples and from whom we collect them are again not necessarily fair; the process can be driven by our biases.

= I am also not saying that intuition needs to be ignored. I have made many personal and professional decisions on intuition, but over emphasising on intuition can be a wrong game. i have learnt this during my MBA program. Also, accepting whatever is given to you as facts is pretty naive. Questioning is one of the most important of skills.

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Networking

Posted by itheabsolute on April 28, 2006

I have been a firm believer in that networking is not about collecting business cards, being at every meeting worth its name, accosting every member of a club/student body / professional group or knowing (the names of) more and more people.

Networking starts with working on oneself. One has to be able to add value to others to become acceptable in a network. To be able to add value one needs to know more about at least one thing (anything!*) than others can know. To be able to let people know that one has some value to add, one has to participate in meetings & parties; take every opportunity to speak in public; take some position of leadership (need not be formal). People will orbit around those that have gotten recognized as someone who can add value (through special skills or position).

Networking, at its best, is when people want to get in touch with you; not necessarily when you want to reach out to people.

PS: * You can even know a person who can make a difference

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You are what you hide

Posted by itheabsolute on April 26, 2006

It is never possible to know another person completely. If it is ever possible to know anyone at all, that is.

This is because people never open up completely. They will always have a secret which they cannot share with anyone. Anyone. This secret will be the true self of the person. However much one may deny this truth but as long as the secret remains undisclosable – at least to one person – so long the person will just be the secret that he holds.

Though this may appear as a very cynical view of people, it is never far from the truth. Having said that, it is not practical to reveal everything. It will get people into troubles; it may mar relationships; it may hurt others. I am also not propogating that people should open up fully. All that needs to be said is that people cannot be fully understood if they have secrets. And people represent their secrets more than what they disclose.

The quadrant ‘I know, Others don’t know’ of Johari’s window is always the most profound and the truest.

PS: the title and the idea are courtesy Mahesh Bhatt

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Fruits of labor

Posted by itheabsolute on April 26, 2006

It is hard…… why hard….. it is not even desirable to keep working and not expect any result out of it. The fruits of labor are what make the labor easy and interesting. Having said that, one should keep expectations realistic considering one’s own skills and efforts. The epsilon factor, of which i am quite fond, plays its role and any mismatch in results and expectations can be attributed to this epsilon factor.

Desirable is one part. Happiness is the other, which emerges when the results are positive.

Just in case you feel that I am boring you with some philosophical stuff, here is the news.

Clearadmit announced its Best of the Blogging results. I made it to the top 10 – to the 6th position to be precise.

This should keep me motivated to continue blogging.

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A new ISB

Posted by itheabsolute on April 22, 2006

One good thing while we were at ISB was the meeting with the Dean. Some of us from the Class of 2006 felt that there were certain things with the school which could be better if people – the management and the students themselves – were a little more proactive. The class of 2006 made a few mistakes

1. not electing the proper student representatives.
2. not making them accountable to us
3. not demanding transparency
4. not putting enough emphasis on the initiatives from CAS and the coordination between the placom and the CAS
5. not demanding enough action from certain offices of the school.

The school is still in an evolving stage and it is right now that we need to bring changes which can take us into a different orbit.

The school has made great progress in the following

1. we have some great student profiles
2. we have international students
3. we have some students with very interesting finance backgrounds
4. the students seem to be a lot more participative. the response to the sessions by the alumni was one indicator.

We had requested the Dean that he meet students regularly through ‘lunch/tea with Dean’ schedules. Hope the new class follows up with Dean’s office and makes this happen. A meeting with Dean will be a great opportunity to give honest feedback and also take his advice.

This morning I came to know that the Dean has announced a few changes and I am glad to note them. A few of us were quite delighted because we were at least in small measure responsible for this positive change.

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