Archive for February, 2007

The Dramatic Life

Alfred Hitchcock was reflecting the mood of his times when he said, ” Drama is life with the dull bits cut out”. The times that we live in are such that one is forced to say,” life is drama with the dull bits all cut out”.Indeed life is more interesting than planned and directed drama. All the world’s a stage for the drama of life:

a. Drama in America over who is the father of Anna Nicole’s baby.

b. Drama in Dallal Street over a non-event as the Union budget for FY 2007-2008.

c. Drama in Japan over whale-hunts

d. Drama in Jerusalem over the supposed discovery of Christ’s remains(also dramatic is the supposed discovery of Mary Magdalene’s coffin)

e. Drama in the streets of Karnataka over who will take how much of Cauvery

f. Drama in parliament over the delay in Quattrocchi’s arrest not being flashed as breaking news.

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Where the future belongs…

Eddie Izzard once said, “I grew up in Europe, where the history comes from”. I have to tell Eddie , ” Congratulations!, I grow up in India, where the future belongs”. No it is not out of over-confidence , as you would note in my previous blogs I am confident that we are living in a resurgent India that is a breaking from its shell of the “Hindu growth rate” and associated self-imposed imprisonment. We as a people have been exploited through and throughout history by our invaders. Now is our time to grow beyond these inflictions and move ahead in the forward direction with a positive frame of mind. Beyond the economic progress we are making and the giant strides in technology that have catapulted us into a strong leadership position in the digital world, we have lots to accomplish at home itself. We cannot boast of a 10% growth rate and still have half our children suffering from malnutrition.We cannot pat ourselves on the back for being #6 in the world in terms of GDP(Purchasing Power Parity) when we are #126 in terms of the HDI(Human Development Index), but all this means that we can only become better than what we already have achieved.

In general it is important :
1. To push our poverty line in the opposite direction so that every Indian gets 3 wholesome meals a day.
2. Create more job opportunities for the youth of today.
3. Improve heavily our health services sector.
4. Make education available to every Indian.
5. Strive with a strong heart for more economic reforms.

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I was just reading an article from HBR( Harvard Business Review ) that immediately struck a few chords of agreement within me. The article* is titled “In Praise of the Incomplete Leader”. The writing is centered around the fact that there is no one such as a complete leader. According to the author there are four capabilities of leadership.the first two are the enabling capabilities of leadership and the remaining two are the creative and action oriented leadership capabilities.
1. Sensemaking (Making sense of the world around you in simple terms, understanding people and processes)
2. Relating (Connecting with people and networking)
3. Visioning (putting forth a compelling vision that will inspire everyone)and
4. Inventing (ways of overcoming a previously insurmountable obstacle, or doing things differently)
The author argues that no leader is perfect in all the four capabilities , everyone has his / her strong areas and the strength in the other areas come from other people in the organization, leadership is effective when it is distributed across the board.
*access to the article is subscription based.

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I will never be tired

I was thinking over the weekend if there are things on the planet that i will never be tired of. I think there are such things for each one of us. Here goes my list :

1) Seeing my son smiling

2) Of hoping for the best

3) My dear one’s loving me

4) Meeting new people

5) and pay hikes 🙂 of course

Tell me if you have other items you would have added here.

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In no special order…

1. New Zealand

2. Seychelles

3. Scotland

4. The Kashmir Valley

5. The Pyramids of Giza

6. The Amazon Basin

7.The Windmills of Netherlands

8. The Niagara Falls

9. The Beaches of Hawaii

10. The Eiffel Towers and other parts of France

So when do I go here. Someone who will be most interested to read this will be none other than my wife. But I have to tell her…please hold on. That’s my dream and I need time to convert expensive dreams like these to reality. Having said that I think its never good to give up hope – “ Far away there in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them, and try to follow them. ” – Louisa May Alcott

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Water Stops City…

The Cauvery verdict which disappointed Karnataka has resulted in today’s Bandh. Personally I feel that the verdict was more than fair. In any case one of the parties will always be aggrieved(that’s why we have conflicts 🙂 ). I don’t intend to write more on the technicalities of the verdict but more on what matters directly to me. I have to suffer the inconvenience that thew bandh will cause. Usually bandhs re not effective in Bangalore except when there are regional sentiments involved. Regional chauvinism sometimes takes militant proportions in this city and it really looks bad.I just hate the idea of banning TV channels to celebrate the bandh. Why should I as a citizen be forced to sit at home and not even have the liberty to watch television for which I pay every month. Ridiculous but true. Ever since the verdict has been out all Tamil channels are off the air. Last time when there was a bandh with a similar tone (the passing away of Kannada matinee idol Rajkumar) all TV channels were blacked out except for the Kannada one’s. I do respect the thespian and all my sympathies for his fans and family but why on earth should I sit at home even without TV. This will be one top reason why I will shift to DTH in the near future.

More than this inconvenience I will have to work on a Saturday to compensate for the holiday today. That is something which troubles me a lot. But today is the day of suffering and I have to suffer because I am here.

PS: Bangalore is the silicon city of India. Silicon city thrives on Software export, the fundamental basis of which is programming Logic. Logic is one thing that some people here don’t even possess in traces.

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Its Vodafone


Woke up this morning to the news that Vodafone (as I indicated in my last entry) has really trumped all others in the bid to acquire Hutch India (India’s fourth largest cellular operator, and 3rd largest GSM operator) valuing the company at $19 billion. Congratulations Mr. Sarin and Co. Some of you might think why is this acquisition so important for the UK telecom giant. The reasons are very simple but important.

1. India is the fastest growing mobile market (we are faster that China).

2.With a low tele-density of 15% India possesses huge potential for long term growth in the telecom domain.

3. With a pending 3G roll out in India, this is a unique opportunity for Vodafone to utilize its investment in the 3G space.

4. Vodafone does not want to be left out in the race to savour a pie of the benefits that could flow from being part of the growth story of “The Rising India“. Everyone wants to be in this part of the world and everyone wants it now. India will soon become Vodafone’s third largest market after Germany and the US.

As a result of this deal Vodafone will now exit its Bharti Airtel venture. That’s in line with Vodafone has been doing all the while. One area I feel where Vodafone is still weak is the Fixed line Broadband market. Vodafone’s excessive exposure to mobile markets is a risk.

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I have no excuses for not writing anything in this journal for the last 10 dyas. I am to blame and so is my procrastination. The mind always indulges in wishful thinking and hence i make excuses that I was super busy at office trying to live up to the expectations of my new responsibilities or I never really had a good subject to blog on. The truth meanwhile is no where near. I was pure lazy. Enough of self decoration. I was more inclined to speak about the flavour of the season in corporate India – M&A’s . For those of you who would like to learn there are two growth strategies a company could adopt. First – Organic Growth which means that the company grows by means of its own business activities like recruiting more personnel, introducing new product lines etc. Inorganic growth on the other hand means growth via external acquisitions or mergers etc. The benefit of inorganic growth is that the company has access to ready made and well established products(which might be doing well in the market), experienced people with the wanted know-how and access to newer geographical areas. Indian companies are increasingly going in this direction. The latest salvo fired was the Birlas acquisition of Novelis ,a US based aluminium firm that the Birla’s have pocketed for a paltry $ 6billion and that too in an all cash deal. Isn’t that spectacular ! Being a shareholder of Hindalco I look forward to the deal with great importance and measured caution.

The other story doing the rounds is that Vodafone has pipped other suitors in the race for the deal to own 67% of Hutch. Arun Sarin seems to have packed a heavy punch with his bid . I read today that Vodafone has valued the deal at around $18-19billion. Nothing is final so I too wait and watch. I think it will be a couple of weeks before anything is clear.Rising at 9-10% the Indian Economy is anyway very fast but it is also going global and that’s always good.

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