Inspiring talk from Steve Jobs (Apple CEO)


How to live before you die? – Steve Jobs

While stumbling through the TED talk videos, I came across the following video talk of Steve Jobs (Apple CEO) and I must admit, its nothing short of inspiring.

He talks about three little stories he experienced in his life and how he has came through these experiences and even stronger.

This is really worth watching, so please tune in and watch this !

Cheerio !

Yes, finally Microsoft took the curtains out of the much awaited, much anticipated next version of the Windows Mobile Phone platform and its been named as Windows Phone 7 Series.

There is nothing new that I would be writing here mentioning the plus points / minus points about the platform and Engadget has done a wonderful job of keeping everyone informed of the unveiling of the new platform.

Windows Phone 7 Series

Hands on & impressions – Video




I personally can not wait but to try out the new Windows Phone OS in my hands.

Looks like Microsoft has done it again. Well done guys !

[Management Views from IIMB is an exclusive column written every two weeks by faculty members of the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore]

[This very good article was forwarded to me by one of my friends and original article is found on]

Who sells the largest number of cameras in India?

Your guess is likely to be Sony, Canon or Nikon. Answer is none of the above. The winner is Nokia whose main line of business in India is not cameras but cell phones.

Reason being cameras bundled with cellphones are outselling standalone cameras. Now, what prevents the cellphone from replacing the camera outright? Nothing at all. One can only hope the Sonys and Canons are taking note.

Try this. Who is the biggest in music business in India? You think it is HMV Sa-Re-Ga-Ma? Sorry. The answer is Airtel. By selling caller tunes (that play for 30 seconds) Airtel makes more than what music companies make by selling music albums (that run for hours).

Incidentally Airtel is not in music business. It is the mobile service provider with the largest subscriber base in India. That sort of competitor is difficult to detect, even more difficult to beat (by the time you have identified him he has already gone past you). But if you imagine that Nokia and Bharti (Airtel’s parent) are breathing easy you can’t be farther from truth.

"What Apple did to Sony, Sony did to Kodak, explain?" Sony defined its market as audio (music from the walkman). They never expected an IT company like Apple to encroach into their audio domain. Come to think of it, is it really surprising? Apple as a computer maker has both audio and video capabilities. So what made Sony think he won’t compete on pure audio? So also Kodak defined its business as film cameras, Sony defines its businesses as "digital."

In digital camera the two markets perfectly meshed. Kodak was torn between going digital and sacrificing money on camera film or staying with films and getting left behind in digital technology. Left undecided it lost in both. It had to. It did not ask the question "who is my competitor for tomorrow?" The same was true for IBM whose mainframe revenue prevented it from seeing the PC. The same was true of Bill Gates who declared "internet is a fad!" and then turned around to bundle the browser with windows to bury Netscape. The point is not who is today’s competitor. Today’s competitor is obvious. Tomorrow’s is not.

Hiding behind all these wars is a gem of a question – "who is my competitor?"

In 2008, who was the toughest competitor to British Airways in India? Singapore airlines? Better still, Indian airlines? Maybe, but there are better answers. There are competitors that can hurt all these airlines and others not mentioned. The answer is videoconferencing and telepresence services of HP and Cisco. Travel dropped due to recession. Senior IT executives in India and abroad were compelled by their head quarters to use videoconferencing to shrink travel budget

So much so, that the mad scramble for American visas from Indian techies was nowhere in sight in 2008. (India has a quota of something like 65,000 visas to the U.S. They were going a-begging. Blame it on recession!). So far so good. But to think that the airlines will be back in business post recession is something I would not bet on. In short term yes. In long term a resounding no. Remember, if there is one place where Newton’s law of gravity is applicable besides physics it is in electronic hardware. Between 1977 and 1991 the prices of the now dead VCR (parent of Blue-Ray disc player) crashed to one-third of its original level in India. PC’s price dropped from hundreds of thousands of rupees to tens of thousands. If this trend repeats then telepresence prices will also crash. Imagine the fate of airlines then. As it is not many are making money. Then it will surely be RIP!

India has two passions. Films and cricket. The two markets were distinctly different. So were the icons. The cricket gods were Sachin and Sehwag. The filmi gods were the Khans (Aamir Khan, Shah Rukh Khan and the other Khans who followed suit). That was, when cricket was fundamentally test cricket or at best 50 over cricket. Then came IPL and the two markets collapsed into one. IPL brought cricket down to 20 overs. Suddenly an IPL match was reduced to the length of a 3 hour movie. Cricket became film’s competitor. On the eve of IPL matches movie halls ran empty. Desperate multiplex owners requisitioned the rights for screening IPL matches at movie halls to hang on to the audience. If IPL were to become the mainstay of cricket, as it is likely to be, films have to sequence their releases so as not clash with IPL matches. As far as the audience is concerned both are what in India are called 3 hour "tamasha" (entertainment). Cricket season might push films out of the market.

Look at the products that vanished from India in the last 20 years.When did you last see a black and white movie? When did you last use a fountain pen? When did you last type on a typewriter? The answer for all the above is "I don’t remember!" For some time there was a mild substitute for the typewriter called electronic typewriter that had limited memory. Then came the computer and mowed them all. Today most technologically challenged guys like me use the computer as an upgraded typewriter. Typewriters per se are nowhere to be seen.

One last illustration. 20 years back what were Indians using to wake them up in the morning? The answer is "alarm clock." The alarm clock was a monster made of mechanical springs. It had to be physically keyed every day to keep it running. It made so much noise by way of alarm, that it woke you up and the rest of the colony. Then came quartz clocks which were sleeker. They were much more gentle though still quaintly called "alarms." What do we use today for waking up in the morning? Cellphone! An entire industry of clocks disappeared without warning thanks to cell phones. Big watch companies like Titan were the losers. You never know in which bush your competitor is hiding!

Future is scary! The boss of an IT company once said something interesting about the animal called competition. He said "Have breakfast …or…. be breakfast"! That sums it up rather neatly.

Success is not something to wait for; it’s something to work for…

Do you manage the teams that work 24×7 across the shifts? Especially on 12 hour/day shift and 4 days/week model? If yes, then I would really be interested to know how manage to have team meetings and to the team collectively?

Getting everyone together for a briefing, team meeting, gathering, round table etc., has been a great concern because of the lack of people in office (due to their shift working). Almost half of the team is off on weekly offs every day while half of remaining work in day and rest in the night shift. Thus at any point of time, I have access to only 1/4th of the team at wok (again due to shift working).

Since most of the team members are not available having a team meeting is really out of question and does not really add value. So I would need to develop some method of getting the offline updates across to everyone and make them equally participant in the decision process, which, may last longer than usual one / two hour meeting. It could actually take 1 week depending on the shift schedule.

Few things I have been contemplating of implementing are,

  • A discussion forum – Creating an online discussion forum where each discussion topic is listed and kept open for a period of 1 week.  Offline reminders are sent to the team to go through the discussion forum and the comments / questions are invited and are answered through further replies / comments over the forum.
  • Offline recording of meetingsRecord the meeting discussions in audio / video formats and again share with the team offline. Invite comments over the recording & engage them into question / answer session offline. Create a Question Basket where you invite questions and get them answered through email replies / audio recordings or video sessions.
  • Issue tracker & project update acknowledger – Create an online application where the important decisions are stored and compel the team members to acknowledge that they have read and understood these decisions. If they have issues, they can raise queries back to the manager via online application.

There might be few more things I could possibly do, but I would really like to know if you have any good suggestions which I could take on board and try and implement them so as to work even more effectively.

Please leave a comment, a feedback or a note on my blog if you could help.