I was pleasantly surprised to find one of my old writings (about musings on MBA) ‘recycling’ on coolavenues site – so thought it should grace my blog too. Here is the link to the article – http://www.coolavenues.com/b-school-updates/iim-kozhikode-student-tries-to-find-out-why-am-i-doing-mba

Also reproduced below verbatim –

After more than a year of introspection, self-realization and complete scanning of my mindspace, and then dissecting my ‘needs’ gingerly on Maslow’s hierarchy, I have reached ‘the conclusion’ as to what I am doing here. Read on –

I am here for the money!

I vividly recall the imploring look on my project manager’s face when I handed over my resignation at infy, “Stay on Lalit, you will be moving to Austin shortly for Schlumbergers project.

” I gave him a contemptuous look… Poor soul! Doesn’t even realize that I am destined for higher things in life – consulting, investment banking and so on.

Well, after an year, the economy is picking up but unfortunately consulting & investment banking sectors are kinda small and software sector is kinda big; even Infy is recruiting massively again…

“You get monkeys, if you pay peanuts”… please, please, please, look closely at my face… don’t I look like a monkey? Recruit me please.

I am here for the Holy Grail, ‘gyan’!

I am here for learning, the quest to be a complete professional [frantically, I realize I still don’t have a ‘Raymond’ suit 😦 ].

A month after I moved in last year, I noted in my diary –
“It has hardly been one and a half months since I joined IIMK, but the learning has been immense. I have realized the value of teamwork and learning together, sharing what you know with others, and appreciating other’s viewpoints as well. I have learnt to be on my toes always, ready to face quizzes, or complete assignments or make presentations in a jiffy. I have learned to view things in proper perspective with ‘the big picture’ always in mind. Blah blah blah…”

Day before yesterday I noted down –
“Porter has become famous for his 5 forces, Kotler has his 4 P’s, Ohmae has given his 3 C’s… well Lalit is on his way to stardom with his 3 Z’s –

•Zero in – customers are like prey & you as a marketer are the hunter… zero in on your customer with full ‘armory’.
•Zoom – surge ahead your competitors by zooming past them… you ought to have Ferrari if you dream of taking on those ‘big guys’ out there.
•Zzz… – never ever… (sleep), otherwise you will be overwhelmed by change… you know, most organizations die coz they are not able to adapt to changing external environment and not able to handle the negative ‘externalities’.”

I pat myself on the back; here is another management guru in the making.

I am here to hone my decision-making skills!

Every morning at dot 9 am, I am faced with a critical decision problem – to take a bath or rush for breakfast, or to have both bath and breakfast, or to have neither. After a quick debit & credit in my bath and breakfast accounts and a careful evaluation of my alternatives on SWOT and tracing the value-chain & cost-benefit analysis, I rush headlong for the class to take on ‘the day’… naah it’s not just another day, it’s the day appointed for rendezvous with strategic management!

I am here to live ‘life in the fast lane’!

Mr. Robinson of Stanford (‘Snapshots from hell’) was all nuts handling 4-5 courses in a semester, and here I am juggling 8 courses per semester… yes, I have handled pressure cooker stress with utmost ease… it’s a different matter that few of the books are so valuable that I have preserved them brand new for posterity… I have cases, assignments, projects… you see, I slept at 3 am yesterday, coz I was stuck with that crucial presentation… (You scumbag, what you had in mind…?)

I am here for the ‘damsels’!

One nanosecond of fever and it’s gone… wasn’t Infy a paradise in comparison? I curse my friend who had shown me the beauties in Symbi’s prospectus, forcing me to believe B-schools are heaven for ‘single and looking’.

I am here for Nirvana!

Yes, it’s time to adopt a realistic attitude – when one has seen it all, one turns inward to attain moksha. I am in that state of bliss. All great men have been enlightened under one tree or the other – Buddha had his bodhi tree, Newton had his apple tree. Unfortunate for me, I have attained nirvana even before I can dash to the nearest coconut tree.

* All characters in this narrative are fictional and any resemblance to anyone living is purely incidental.

Contributed by:
Lalit Kumar
IIM Kozhikode

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Writing has been a passion for me for long but due to various constraints I have not been able to devote much time to this pursuit. Sometimes I have struggled with issue of time, sometimes with writer’s block and sometimes issue of capturing and crystallizing the thought process that occurs when away from laptop or phone. At times I have too much on my reading table, leaving hardly any time to go through the process of writing as such…..classical dilemmas you may say!

Having flirted with these thoughts for long, I have developed my own notion about handling the process of reading and writing. No one will deny the fact that tangible writing cannot happen without a good reading habit. Reading gives food for thought and provides cues (ideas, imagination, emotion) that appeal and at times stick to your soul, which eventually manifests itself at some point in your writing. I feel a good writer has to go through the following stages in a fixed time-span, which can be a day, week or month or longer, depending on writing time period –

a) Discovery – where you find and bookmark interesting reads depending on your areas of interest
b) Assimilation – where you read and then contextualize / internalize them
c) Creation – the process of writing itself

Can I call it the DAC process of writing? 🙂

All the three stages can happen in parallel (and not necessarily in sequential order) but important thing to note is that you cannot choose to spend too much time on one to the detriment of the other stages. For ex., you may often find yourself in the flow of ‘reading’ and then realize you have hardly any time left for writing and it has to be postponed. This doesn’t help the cause of writing, which was the main reason that you setup this process for, in the first place. So golden rule…scribble away , err..type on.

This is most likely the second largest Tech deal ever, behind HP-Compaq deal of 2001 @ $25 B. What could have Zuckerberg been thinking when he dropped a cool $16 B to acquire WhatsApp? We are scratching our heads in disbelief but then Tech deals have always been mostly over-the-top and brick and mortar ways of applying valuations does not seem to hold good in such cases; having said that here are my reasoning for this ‘insane’ valuation –

– Valuation of a consumer tech. company is all about its user-base. WhatsApp reportedly has 450 mi users currently, which means FB paid almost $35 / user for unlocking the life time value of its user base in future. Suddenly the $16 B figure seems reasonable and not exorbitant.
And this still doesn’t take into account the future growth in user base. I am sure Mark must be tightening his belt to push WhatsApp in US market (its user base in US is very low) and foreseeing a billion user for the app in near future.

– WhatsApp is fastest tech. service to get to 400+ mi users in <5 years, much faster than gmail, Skype or even FB itself. At this scorching pace, Zuckerberg must have been worried that down the road it may pose formidable challenge to FB or even grow larger than FB in user base.

– FB is reportedly seeing decline in teenagers usage and WhatsApp has huge teenager population using its services. Zuck found an easy way out.

– This purchase also ties in well with FB's overall strategy of increased focus on Mobility, where most of the social media usage and consumption is happening now.

– This purchase may also pave a way for FB to drive monetization of the mobile usage. Think of it, FB has now access to 450 mi cellphone numbers and a way to track usage, conversations and amount of time spent…this gives them increased visibility into consumer behavior for driving ad revenue numbers.

It will be interesting to look at how FB handles the merger down the road, because if we have to draw a parallel of similar M&A historically – eBay and Microsoft both botched the Skype acquisition.

Being an Indian, I take great pride in Satya Nadella’s elevation to the top of the pecking order at Microsoft. His singular achievement speaks volume about his capabilities as a leader (headed servers & tools group before his elevation) and his skill as a Tech visionary, who recognized business opportunity in emerging areas of cloud and pushed the behemoth, ie MSFT in that direction successfully. Today Azure stands neck to neck with Amazon, and leads VMware in that space.

Given Nadella’s background, I am sure MSFT will see more muscle deployed in the direction of the cloud and rightly so, because software is fast becoming a personal cloud in my view, with rapid emergence of smartphones, tablets and multiple Apps that dot them. Majority of the computing power (I remember having read > 80% ) of these smartphones/tablets are used by these Apps as users increasingly rely on them to connect with friends, send messages or search for nearest restaurant. These Apps are nothing but personal software cloud, in a very simplistic way. So Consumer software space is going to be increasingly dominated by Cloud in coming years. On enterprise side, businesses have invested heavily in legacy or ERP systems and it will take time to migrate to cloud but with the weight of likes of MSFT,AMZN and the likes I believe the enterprise IT will soon be headed completely in that direction.

It will be interesting to see the strategic direction that MSFT chooses for itself in coming days, having botched its earlier attempts to dominate both Enterprise (windows revenue is declining, etc) and Consumer space (Bing bombed, etc). Though the opportunities are humongous in both the spaces in this ‘software-powered world’ (in Nadella’s own words), the challenges are daunting too.

I work for a leading GRC software company in a customer-facing role and gleaning tid-bits from all my business conversations, I can clearly see three main trends emerging that will drive the next phase of ‘big’ growth in this space – 

1) Business perspective :

Organizations (across sectors/verticals) are increasingly becoming more risk-aware and devising ways and processes to quantify and mitigate these risks, and many have moved to the next level of maturity of implementing software (GRC related) to efficiently drive risk management. There are vast opportunities waiting to be tapped-

– Persuade Org with manual (excel/doc based) processes to adopt software to efficiently manage risks

– Upgrade Org with silo implementations to implement software solution across Enterprise and get a single/coherent / holistic view of risk related information

– Persuade Org to adopt complete GRC Platform and implement applications to manage compliance, audit, content, risks and controls

– Org themselves are discovering varied and interesting Use Cases for GRC solutions, ranging from vendor evaluation to quality control measures to handling ethical and governance matters. This is a noteworthy point and shows huge potential for yet-to-be-uncovered opportunities.

 2) Technology perspective :

Emergence of SMAC (social, mobile, analytics, cloud) has impacted / will impact GRC space in a positive way. The Org with social media presence need to contextualize and understand vast amount of info present (eg on twitter, FB) in a meaningful way and manage associated ‘reputational’ risks. This presents an opportunity for GRC solution/software to be extended to marketing domain. The pervasiveness of ‘big data’ across GRC solutions already underscores importance of analytics and ability of the software to provide analytical charts, reports and so on. Extension of GRC application onto mobile or cloud deployments will further help penetration of GRC in mid-market organizations.

3) Vendor perspective :

Consolidation of GRC software vendors has been in play for last few years and this trend is only going to accelerate in coming years. This will eventually lead to emergence of select few as de-facto standards in this space (almost akin to SAP for ERP space), which will accelerate the awareness and adoption of GRC among Enterprise to mid to small organizations.

(Researchmoz has predicted that Global Governance, Risk and Compliance Platform market will grow at a CAGR of 9.20 percent over the period 2012-2016. One of the key factors contributing to this market growth is the increasing demand for comprehensive solutions.)

I Might Remember You – A Poem
poetry
Read More

Compiling some interesting links, more as a storehouse for my own ref. , will keep adding as I move on –

a) Tech blog on Indian web 2 scene – http://www.webyantra.net/

b) Must Read list for business – http://www.sramanamitra.com/2009/05/20/best-entrepreneurship-books/

c) AMA podcasts – http://podcast.amanet.org/edgewise/

d) Tech blog / Deal architect – http://dealarchitect.typepad.com/deal_architect/

e) Forbes India (recently launched) – http://business.in.com/

f) Relationship Mgmt – http://www.andrewsobel.com/articles

g) Sales , weekly webinar – http://saleschampion.com/go.html?p=Seeme11&w=ericamcall

 

Brand and its attributes

The title suggests that I am a narcissist but thats not the case 🙂

Has been a busy day at work today and jus relaxing by fiddling around my blog. Feeling nostalgic, I thought I should pen down some interesting, unusual and random facts, yes about me –

a) I walk alone…you may say the title is borrowed from ‘green day’ song

As a kid, I did not like the idea of holding hands of anyone and walking….ya even outside or on the roads. When 4-5 yrs old, I lost my way at a bus stop and caused whole gamut of heartaches to my parents…suddenly I had disappeared in thin air from behind them. After 30 mins of futile search, I was spotted walking happily towards them…and guess what I replied to their question of where I had gone.  Simple, I liked the other way better and went ahead to see the bazaar. I don’t remember the incident though, its my mama’s fav. recollection 🙂

b) Can you believe my first ever prize that I bagged in school was in sports? …class 3 and in event called three-legged race. Do you know what this sporting event is?

c) When in junior school, I caught this fever of singing …and believe it or not I sang this song in front of the whole class , ‘I am a disco dancer..’, without any accompaniment of music whatsoever….you guessed it by now, Mithunda remains my fav. and that was my last tryst with public singing…coz I didn’t want girls to go ga-ga over me.

d) I still remember ‘the pride’ that I felt when my name was called upon stage at an annual school function to pick up the first prize in ‘ academic proficiency’  (…yes, the word itself is daunting ). I was in class 6 then and still cherish the moment and the memento …a set of chinese checkers..I went on to love this game and became an addict shortly after.

e) I was a front-bencher in high school, not by choice but by compulsion – I developed this -1 power in my eyes and hated it to wear specs. But now I think I look more sober – you may like to call ‘illustrious’ 🙂  – with my specs.

f) In class 11 and 12, when people around were thinking about IITs and AIIMS, I developed this love affair with poetry. My only ambition then was to get published.

g) By then, I was so Shakespearen – inclined (yes, I coined this word in a jiffy) that I mugged up the whole Junior Oxford dictionary. Those were years back and my Vocab. has declined considerably since then.

h) In school, I had my share of bunking classes and ending up in cinema halls, smoking at relatively young age….but my mama’s firm belief that I could do no wrong, made me apply judicious self-restraint..note the emphasis on ‘judicious’

i) I loved biology and my school friends believed that I was destined to be a doctor…..but ended up with B Tech. instead.

j) In college, people said I was civil-services material ….instead, I rounded up my education (or whatever remains of it ) with MBA 🙂

k) My second week in boarding school and I was caught ragging a ‘to-be’ classmate. I still believe I was jus standing with the senior who had called up this guy. Private schools have their own way of settling things and it was full one month or so before I could even breath, amidst all the summons to ‘disciplinarian’ (phew, I dread that word) committee. It was closest I have been to appearing before a court of law.

l) When in final-year college, I was invited to Director’s office all of a sudden and was made an ‘offer’ too 🙂 Apparently a visiting prof.  from an university in UK had seen one of my poems in college magazine and was so impressed that he wanted me to join his Univ. for Masters in Creative Writing….I was completely blown away, took a while to compose myself, then politely declined saying it was too wild an idea.

m) My first air-flight was sponsored by Siddharth Basu & his company to take part in BBC University challenge quiz ….now, now, dont ask me the outcome. It suffices to say that I had won numerous quizzing events in school, before this happened; so I was credible enough 🙂

n) 25 july, 2005 @ Mumbai : I was fleeced of Rs 500 by the taxi-walla jus outside the airport. It was the only time I remember, I got scared and thankful at the same time…thankful coz I still had my luggage and let go with a ‘small’ amount. Next day unfolds itself with the dreaded monsoon that almost drowned Mumbai and I was happy still being alive.

o) First time outside the country, @dubai and I was completely floored at the airport itself. When will India be called a developed nation?

p) In UK with my boss (he had the habit of being everywhere) at a disc, I was approached by this pretty-one for a dance. …you guessed it, I said  ‘no, I am too awkward at it ‘ …its a different matter that I was being completely honest too 🙂 She got a foto clicked with me and left. I had my flight next day headed home.

I must stop now,  this is enough for a day.

If you have survived till the last, you are the kind of reader, ebay ( read half.com) is after. You can buy anything …I mean any book, on ebay.

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