Deepika Padukone & the Cleavage Row!

OK, Deepika, you rock!  But not in this case…

I am sorry, and I know I am going to get flak for this, but sometimes men have to stand up and be counted. 🙂  Yes, we do rude things sometimes, because we are men.  I do believe in “Different but Equal“. Absolutely, without equivocation.  So…

Remember when Professor Higgins (Pygmalion, or My Fair Lady for the unwashed masses) asked “Why can’t a woman be more like a man?”.  Well, I’d rather not have that, and please women, I hope you can do us men the same courtesy.  And if you think most men are pure at heart, please watch this video where President (and professed man of god) Jimmy Carter famously said “I’ve looked on a lot of women with lust. I’ve committed adultery in my heart many times.”

I really like the below video, and it is a great answer to this and all the other such “rows”, but it might offend some prissy people. If you are one of those, please don’t watch!

EverNote vs. OneNote

I recently discovered OneNote and Evernote. I installed Evernote based on a productivity article I read, and while reading a tutorial on effectively using Evernote, I also discovered OneNote.

A friend (thanx Giri!) recommended Google Keep, but I declined to try it. The major issue? You have to keep your information in the Cloud, Google’s Cloud. You don’t have a choice and that makes me a little uncomfortable. Maybe I am old-fashioned (or not old-enough-fashioned), but I never bought into the whole thin-client thing (sorry McNealy). Both OneNote and Evernote give you a choice to save locally or in the Cloud. OneNote on your SkyDrive and Evernote…somewhere out there. This is also partly why I use a local email client (lately Outlook – ugh), not Gmail.

Anyway, more about the Notebook battles. Evernote does not have as many levels. Evernote has Notebooks which can have Notes. That’s it. OneNote on the other hand, has Notebooks, which have Sections and each Section can have Pages. For someone like me who has an information-organization fetish, the ability to divide and subdivide information is too attractive. So, for example a whole book can be organized into a single Notebook – the Sections become ummm, Sections! And of course, the Pages are the Chapters.

Evernote has the Web Clipper, and is integrated into the Browser (at least into Firefox), so clipping URLs, Screenshots etc. is easy. And it is also integrated into Google Search – it searches its own notes in tandem with Google. It is even integrated into Outlook, which I have not yet explored, but that is dangerous, because Microsoft will no doubt defend incursions into its own territory.

In cases like this I usually end up using both tools, until one overwhelmingly takes over. This is better than making a choice at the start, because the utility of any well, utility is only clear after extensive and detailed usage. Once I understand my information gathering and classification style better, I will be able to make a more informed decision. So far, the odds are definitely in favor of OneNote – finally, Microsoft may have done something right!

Proud to be a Rotarian – End of Polio

I believe that Pride is necessarily a bad thing, especially when you take Pride in yourself. Pride, they say, cometh before a fall. Being proud of others, however, is a good feeling and makes you truly happy.

That is why, today, I am proud to be associated with Rotary. It has been a little over three years since I joined Rotary. And this week, India has been polio free for three years – January 13th 2011 was the last reported case of Polio in India. So all of the work had been done before I joined Rotary. And some of the women and men who made it possible are those I meet every week. Let’s be honest, I can’t say I like all of them. Nor are they all perfect – far from it. But most are wonderful people, and it has been an honor and a privilege to know them. And, they are all responsible for this stupendous effort that has rid India of a dreaded disease. Yes, plenty of other organizations including the Indian Government, the WHO and the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation have played major roles. But Rotary has been one of the most active and most committed. See the graphics below, they show contributions in Millions of dollars. Rotary is second, after only the Gates foundation!


Full PDF here

So thank you Rotarians, for what you have done and for what you continue doing.  And thank you for letting me in on this reflected glory.

But our work is not done yet…

When I was a child – from the age of about 2 to 6, a little girl by the name of Renu Grewal lived next to me. She and I played and hung out together. We would crawl through a hole in the hedge to meet each other. She was full of energy and passion like Punjabi girls are wont to be! But she had polio. It never mattered to me then, but looking back I feel a small sadness. But not pity.  I remember learning too that her father was an Air Force Pilot and was shot down in the 1965 war. Even then I felt no pity for her, because I knew she was stronger than all the other kids – perhaps because of herI wonder what happened to her… Why does Renu matter? Because the victims of this dreaded disease are still around us and perhaps need our help and support. Let us not forget them. I don’t think Renu needed anyone’s support – she was much too feisty for that, but other little children do. They need corrective surgery, prostheses, and assimilation into our society – assimilation without pity.

See also

What does it take to be an Entrepreneur?

Being an entrepreneur takes passion and belief in yourself.  It takes flexibility and perseverance and a lot of qualities not seen in most people.  Being an entrepreneur takes also takes courage, humility, focus and above all, a first class idea that has merit to real customers in the real world.

You may have heard this before, but bear with me a moment because most people buy this superficially but don’t think deeply enough about it.  Whether it is when they plan to become entrepreneurs or when they look at an entrepreneur and appreciate (or not) her/him, people should understand the “real deal”.

Let’s take it piecemeal…

Let’s face it – in any thing you do, there are moments when you wish you could just walk away.  Whether it’s a relationship or a business, there are always those moments, and the only thing that prevents you from doing some incredibly stupid is the realization that there is nothing you care about more.  That’s passion.

But there are other benefits.  When you have passion for something, it rubs off.  Co-founders, employees, customers and yes, even vendors and partners will be attracted to you because they will feel excited about what you are doing.  They know that you will not walk away (see above) and will see things through.  And so, you will attract the best, the most committed people, to your enterprise.  That’s worth more than all the venture capital in the world.

And now listen to this:

“I never trust anyone who’s more excited about success than about doing the thing they want to be successful at.” ~Randall Munroe

So be careful what your passion is.  If it’s “making the big bucks” or “being on the cover of xyz”, forget it, you’d be better off in entertainment or politics.  What I am trying to say here, if you haven’t already got it, is that you need to be passionate about your product or service – whatever it is that you are offering.  Not passionate solely about making money (although as I will show you later, you need to be focused on making money too).  You need to be excited about getting up in the morning because you want to work on your passion.

“…belief in yourself…”
I will write someday about the link between innovation and entrepreneurship, but for now, suffice it to say that they go together like love and marriage, or peanuts and beer.  This means however, that you are most likely going to be doing something different or differently, in other words, innovative.  And no one else will like it, at least initially.

If you are doing something really great it will most likely be something that no one has thought about it.  That means everyone will deride you, maybe openly laugh at you.  They will tell you it can’t be done, that no one will buy it and many such negative things.  The thing is THEY MAY BE RIGHT, some of the time.  And that will make you lose heart.  But don’t.  Because you will be right, eventually, if you keep adapting, modifying, and sticking to it.  Which brings us to…

Flexibility, tenacity, perseverance
”Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb.  Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts.  Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ‘press on’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.”
– Calvin Coolidge, President of the United States 1924-1928

Of course this applies no matter what you are doing, not just in entrepreneurship.  But, in entrepreneurship, you have to fight against massive odds, and failures are almost a given.  In fact, innovation (which again, I believe to be fundamental to entrepreneurship) requires many failures in order to perfect the offering.  In fact innovation and therefore failure, and the ability to overcome failure by solving the problem has to be your culture and that of your company.

This is becoming long, so I will continue in another post…watch this space.

Two wonderful books!

I just read two books by Ken Follett, which I ABSOLUTELY loved. I had no idea what the books were about when I borrowed the first one from a neighborhood library. I had read Eye of the Needle a long time ago, but I don’t even remember the story except for a vague recollection that it was a spy/intrigue thriller. I picked up World Without End and it seemed a little different, but I didn’t have time so, relying on my recognition of the author’s name. The Universe was conspiring to find me a book on historical fiction, because I had been thinking about that genre and how I wished James Michener had written more of his excellent books. Both this and Pillars of the Earth are completely different from what Ken Follett has written before or since.

If you hated history in high school and rediscovered it with some magical historical book, do tell me about it in a comment. I’d love to discover more of that genre. I do like other kinds of fiction, in fact practically any fiction, if it is immersive and well written. I find that I don’t have much patience for non-fiction anymore and I am frankly puzzled by people who have tons of these laying around their house. I wonder if they actually read those or just want to feel good about owning them.

Anyway, for lovers of historical fiction, this is a fabulous set of two books set in the 12th (The Pillars of the Earth) and 14th centuries (World Without End). The books appear to be a continuous story – a with gaps of course, because they are about 150 years apart – with references to previous characters and events in the second book. I hate to read a series out of order, but in this case it happened that way and in the end it did not matter.

Not only are the books meticulously researched – Follett has woven the story around the building and development of a particularly English style of Gothic (Church) Architecture, but masterfully constructed. The story-telling is superb, and the characters so well thought out and described that they seem to come to life! You actually being to empathize with the main characters and start to despise, no even hate the villain! You can actually use words like “gripping”, and “unputdownable” for both these books.

As historical (fictional) writing goes, Ken Follett makes Michener pale in comparison! I am not sure I could go back to Michener any more (I still have to read Alaska: A Novel). I loved these two books and I would love to read some sequels!

The Pillars of the Earth
World Without End

The Indian By-Poll of 2013

It’s cold here – which is 7.8C. That’s 46F to us Americans.  And tending to Absolute Zero for the Congress in four states, especially Delhi.  It’s the winter of our discontent for Indians and they are expressing it in their votes.  The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) almost got a majority in Delhi, and could get one if there is another poll, which latter is likely.  It is being called a win for Truth and Integrity.  It is certainly a win for the People with a “capital” P.

But beware!  This was the first battle in what is going to be a long drawn-out war.  And now that the Congress is on the back foot, the fangs will really come out.  There are too many vested and entrenched interests that will not allow transparency to expose the massive corruption that is part of the very fabric of the nation and especially of Delhi – its capital.

AAP workers and leaders have been beaten and ostensibly even murdered – quite recently too.  Although it is unlikely that this will be repeated now that they are so much in the limelight and have become the darlings of the people, it is possible that many other underhand techniques in the arsenal of the corrupt will be unsheathed, and soon.  Buying votes, intimidation of voters and party workers, pressure on bureaucrats by the powerful and many more such threats are to be expected.

So, the AAP, and especially its supporters, should not rest on their laurels, but gear up and roll up their sleeves for the real hard work ahead.  Delhi is one of the smallest (but perhaps most iconic) of the State Assemblies and a win here (an almost win actually), though significant, is a drop in the ocean.

But the AAP may themselves undermine their success.  Their excessively populist and anti-business stance may scare many business interests into investing support for the other beneficiary of the anti-Congress zeitgeist – the BJP.

And of course there is the BJP – the big dog in the fray.  Compared to them, the AAP is puny and may be steamrollered by their national machine.  But more on the BJP later.

The new U2 Video

From the soundtrack of Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom, this new release by U2 is called Ordinary Love.

I liked it and would rate it as good, but it is not their greatest.  Stuff like “I Still Haven’t Found What I’ve Looking For” and “With Or Without You”

Interesting that everybody is calling it a “Video” – it used to be “single”, then “song”, but it is now no longer just music.  In this video the graphics are just as noteworthy as the song.  The lyric smattered video is by Oliver Jeffers and Mac Premo.

With Or Without You

Hello World!

Hmmm…. What should my first post on this blog be about?  Myself? No, that’s already in the About Me section.

My interests?  Which one?

Food?  Drink? Ooh, Yeah!

Life? Love? Um… Not publicly, can’t do that last one, 🙂 hey? Films? Books? Uh-huh… Entrepreneurship? SocioBiology? Technology? Philosophy?  The Green Bay Packers? The things I like make a long list…

OK, so my first post will be about why I blog.  I am not new to blogging, but this is the first time I have a Personal Blog, on which I feel like I have the freedom to write just about anything.  So those (above) are some of the topics I am going to write about. Notice how I cleverly said “some”, so I can expand that list?  Smart, hey?

Anyway, enough frivolity.  I have previously blogged about my technology L3, moving back to India and a few other topics.  The first was for business reasons and the second was an emotional reaction to my return to my birthplace that had become a frustrating enigma to me.

As I mature and grow older, I feel that I do have valuable thoughts to share.  These aren’t just opinions unsupported by facts (usually) or emotional rantings.  I pride myself on thoughtful, reasoned dialog.  I research, discuss, and then write.

Another reason to blog is simply to refine my thinking about the various things that I need to or want to think about.  And what better way to organize your thoughts and hone them, than to write?

Reading maketh a full man, conference a ready man, and writing an exact man.
Sir Francis Bacon
English author, courtier, & philosopher (1561 – 1626)  

Finally, I want to write a book, and what better practice than to write often?  I used to write well, but like every other skill, it atrophies if unused.

So here’s wishing me luck and to you dear reader, luck as well, in that you may find in my blog, ideas of value or just entertainment.

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