Sunday, July 29, 2007


Why is open-mindedness  good?

"Mind is like is parachute. Works best when open."

Dangers of open-mindedness.

"If your mind is too open, your brain may fall out."

It is good to lose your brain from time to time as it only accumulates junk.

"Education is what that remains after you have forgotten everything you learned in schools." - Einstein.

So, being open minded helps you lose your brain and thus helps you get education. Go figure.


Ads by

Powered by Qumana

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Ability and Character

"Ability may take you to the top. It takes character to keep you there."

Look at the people at the top getting toppled in shame once they reach there. What's wrong with them? They had ability which took them to the top and they lacked character which needed to keep them at top. Since they did not have it, nothing helped and they toppled down.

Look at the top executives who are sent to jail on stock option scandals, corruption etc.

"Skills can be learnt. Experience comes with time. Character - you have it or not although you can improve it with much work."


Powered by Qumana

Recent stock market activity

So, have you been spooked by recent blood bath in the stock markets? It's has been like this during the week of July 23 all over the world.

Even with that, stock market has done well so far. Around 8% gain in the US and much more elsewhere.

Remember a bear market is due for sometime now. We have had a great ride since 2002. If we expect bear markets in once in 3-5 years, it is high time now.

So, what can be done to survive the bumpy ride?

If you have a diversified portfolio of passive mutual funds and you believe that stock market is the best route to make money over LONG term, leave your money there and forget about it. It's absolutely foolish to take out money just to avoid future losses. History shows that people who try to time markets end up selling when the market is at its lowest and end up buying when market is at it's highest. Also, once you take out the money, you should find another investment opportunity. Where is it going to come from? You may lose valuable time in scouting for one such opportunity. During that time, stock market may rally as it happened after similar down turn in February.

If you have invested in individual stocks, you should get more prudent and diligent if you are not already. You should remember it is not good to lose too much money on individual stocks. Diversified portfolios will eventually come back. Individual stocks are not guaranteed to be. So, always make sure of how much you are willing to lose on any individual stock. 5% is reasonable. 10% if your stock has been a good stock historically. So, as soon as you buy, set a stop order which 5% or 10% less than the price you bought the stock at.

Second thing is to lock in profits after your stock has appreciated reasonably. One principle that has worked well for me is to use trailing stop order after the stock has appreciated reasonably. My measure of reasonable appreciation is 10%. Once a stock has appreciated 10%, I set a trailing stop with 2%. So, if stock keeps going up, the lowest selling price continues to adjust up and if it starts falling down, trailing stop gets converted to stop order and locks down profits with at least all the profit minus 2% or whatever you have set.

Trailing stop is not a good order to set in the very beginning or when stock has appreciated only a little. If you set it soon after you buy, it will sell of quickly as the price adjusts up only when stock moves up and not down. So, to avoid losses, continue to use stop orders. Only after you are sure to make at least 8% profit that is when stock has appreciated at least 10%, it makes sense to set trailing stop order.

If you can avoid losing too much money on individual stocks, it is easier to make decent money on most of your trades. It is very rare that you will end up losing too much money with stop orders and you are sure to lock in your profits with trailing stop orders.


Powered by Qumana


"Swallow your pride occasionally. It is not fattening."

I would add that it is not only not fattening but also very nutritious. More you swallow your pride, better your (spiritual) health gets.

Keep in mind though like anything else good, it is like a bitter medicine. It is difficult swallow, but does a lot good.

People who start swallowing pride suddenly see many benefits. First, they start seeing that they are accomplishing more than they used to be. When you are not willing to swallow pride, you always end up 'taking your ball and going home' all the time. In that case, you do not get to play more. If you do not play more, how can you score runs? It's same in work. If you do not swallow pride, you do not work well in teams, and you will not accomplish much. In professional circles, they give you your proverbial ball and send you home. You do not need to go on your own. So, it is good for your career to swallow pride.


Powered by Qumana

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Sense of accomplishment

Have you looked back on the days when you felt good about yourself to examine what caused that feeling on that particular day? In majority of the cases, it is directly related to something you got DONE. May be a good meeting you conducted, may be a killer presentation you made to the customer, may be an important milestone you hit on time,  may be a critical bug fixed. There can be numerous such things.

Why is sense of accomplishment important? I think it is very important because sense of accomplishment is what determines our self worth, at least in our early life. It takes long time to learn and understand that most of our materialistic accomplishments do not matter to our real self worth. But, it also takes a long time to reach this spiritual state of awareness. So, till then it is worthwhile to gain as much self worth by accomplishing as much as possible.

So, there come the goals. Someone beautifully said - Goals are nothing but dreams with deadlines. How true! If you set yourself goals and consistently achieve them, with every such achievement, your self worth grows in your own eyes. Set small goals, hit them, take a moment to celebrate and move on to the next goal. Set, achieve, celebrate and repeat. This is a simple process to improving your self worth.

Do not worry about what goals to set and how to achieve them. As long as goals are not harmful to you or society, feel free to set and achieve them. May be start off with something as simple as reading 10 pages from some useful book for a week. Do not stretch yourself too far until you have had some successes under your belt. Last thing you want is all unachieved goals debiting our already small reserve of self worth. Small goals and small achievements are what we should start with.

Another risk with big goals is that even if you achieve them, after a lot of effort, the goal itself is so big that chances are you will bask in its glory for a long time doing nothing worthwhile. So, it makes sense to break a big goal into small mini goals even if you think you can comfortably achieve the big goal itself.


Powered by Qumana

Team behavior

Humans have operated in teams for time immemorial. If that is so, why is it so hard to get people work and succeed in teams in our organizations?

If teams have existed and thrived in social situations for so many years, why teams take special effort to make them succeed in corporate environment?

Humans have lived, gathered food, held community activities etc. in groups and seems to be happy with it. But, in teams we do not see the same kind of natural involvement. Why?

I think the biggest difference is when we operate as part of teams in social context we are involved with our heart and should. When we are part of teams in corporate environment, we are involved only with head and that's it. So absence of emotions seem to make all difference. Corporate team environment does not encourage emotional involvement. Even if it is, there are only negative emotions or attitudes  such as competitiveness, back stabbing, jealousy and so on.

How can we bring the effectiveness of team in social context to corporate context? First, you can not get people to involve with their heart and soul unless you make them feel it is worth it. In the era of hire and fire, why do people want to risk getting their hearts broken by involving more than necessary in your corporate money making machine? So reward for loyalty is the first step towards improving better involvement of people in teams. It may be very difficult to get the same level of involvement but you can certainly improve the team performance if people know that company and their boss is doing their best to reward loyalty.

One example I am aware of is, one of my previous employers preferred to impose salary cuts rather than laying people off because they felt it was detrimental to good teams they had in place. Sure, some people did grumble but they did not understand that they would not have had much success if their coworkers were let go instead of taking a pay cut.  No wonder company came out of the problems soon after. It would have so difficult to build teams when market turned upwards. People are not replaceable. So do all you can do to keep good people.

All other principles such TLC (Tender, Love, Care), seeking to understand before seeking to be understood, empathy etc. all go a long way in creating better teams. When we use all these to have good social life why not bring the same to work place and improve our team performances.


Powered by Qumana

Saturday, July 07, 2007



Powered by Qumana

Thursday, July 05, 2007


Don't walk behind me, I may not lead. Don't walk in front of me, I may not
follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.
-Albert Camus

Powered by Qumana

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Best recco - word of mouth

They say word-of-mouth is the best form of advertising. If you think, it applies only to brands and not to people, think again. People are also a brand. Right? We all have a very important brand whose brand equity we need to continuously improve and grow. Our most important brand is 'I'. We have to take excellent care of this brand.

Now, let's not get paranoid about preserving and growing our brand in a hurry. No brand, be it Honda or Sony or Nike, did not attain its brand equity in a day. So, we too need to be patient and grow our individual brand one day at a time. Slow and steady wins the race. If not in this life, next life and after for sure.

Now coming to word-of-mouth form of advertising. Look at the real successful people around you. What is one thing that is unique about them? Unique thing is most of the people say good things about them. Even those die-hard cynics of all cynics too say good things about these people. If not, they at least bitch and moan about these people when they do that about virtually everyone.

Sometimes we think if we do not toot our horns, we may not get the recognition for our work even when it is due. Best thing is to have other blow your horn. Be nice to people and you do not even need to give your horn. They will come to you, beg for your horn and toot it to the whole world. You go and play golf. Now do not expect people to do that big favor in your initial days in a professional place. You have to have patience. The period to establish this kind of reputation takes a long time. Take a lot of patience and fortitude.

When people get the best impression of your? First impression is the worst impression for most people. Because first impression goes by our looks, mannerisms etc. which only a few are blessed with. Most of the others are ordinary mortals in terms of looks and personality. But, regardless of how we look to others, we all have inherent divinity. When we let our divinity shine, it is glaring and people get impressed by it and bask in its glory.

People gradually develop good impression of you when you learn to live with them and their idiosyncrasies it may feel like people are taking advantage of you. They may even be taking advantage of you. Regardless of how cunning they may be, your goodness will slowly win them over and they will start feeling bad about taking advantage of you. If you think people are walking all over you, let them. When they realize they are walking over precious velvet, they stop doing that and hold the velvety smooth velvet to their hear and you have won a place in their heart.

These people then start singing your praises. That's is the best form of advertisement and gets you noticed by people. In my experience, bosses hate when their subordinates copy them on e-mails or forward e-mails with minor achievements etc. On the other hand when bosses hear someone else singing your praises, they have some kind of epiphany and that impression that happens indirectly of you is what your boss going to remember and reward you by. So, be nice to people, bear with them, understand them, forgive them even when they treat you unfairly and see the difference it makes to your career.

Bosses are always on the look out for people who can get along with people easily. As such they have so many things bothering them that the last thing they want is some difficult-to-get-along with kinda guy who wastes their bandwidth and slows down the team's speed. When they hear from others that you are one of the easiest guys to work with, they will think this guy has great potential and give you more responsibility. It's now up to you to put one notch up and deliver even more goodness and the cycle repeats.

Best way to grow your brand equity is by being nice to your fellow beings.


Powered by Qumana

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Bheja Fry

Bheja Fry - funny movie. Movie based on awkward comedy. Vinay Pathak is way too good. He carries the entire movie. Rajat Kapoor, Milind Soman chip in with great performances. Short and sweet movie. 1.30 hrs. Director Sagar Ballary dserves serious kudos.

Available for download from Desi Torrents. (


Powered by Qumana

The Office

"The Office" is a TV serial based on the serial of same name which was originally made in UK.

This is one of the best serials I have seen in a long time. Excellent comedy. It's in season 4 now and since season 1 it has only gotten better. It is really "funtastic".

Season 1 and 2 are available on DVD at Netflix among other places. Season 3 is available for download as torrents on may P2P sites. Keep in mind it's a huge download (~4 GB). Based on where you down load from , it may take from a few days to few weeks. But, it's worth it. Season 3 has some new twists, new characters and ends with an explosive episode.

5 stars for this pure fun TV serial.


Powered by Qumana