Friday, July 16, 2010

Whatever shades your glasses are, you meet that colored people !

"While I do love travel and don’t want to discount it as a way to experience some personal growth, I want to point out something that you should ponder: Wherever you go, there you are. It’s the title of a book by Jon Kabat-Zinn, although I’m not sure where the quote originates from. The point is, it doesn’t matter what you are doing or where you go because wherever or whatever it is, there you are. Whether you’re sitting on a mountaintop in India or sitting in your cubicle, you are the same person. The question then becomes, ‘Who are you?’
So, our first job and maybe our only job here is to get back in touch with who we are. What is it that we want to offer to the world? What is it that we want to do? These aren’t easy questions to answer and you may very well not be able to answer them. I’m certainly struggling with these questions myself. One thing you might try doing, which I have done myself, is just accept that you don’t know right now. Certainly keep questioning and pondering, but don’t force doing out of a place that isn’t authentic. When you do decide to take action, I hope the action is coming from the heart because if you follow your heart you will be sure to lead an abundant life."

I was randomly browsing and chanced upon this amazing blog that is a must read for anyone and everyone. This article or post in particular strikes me because of an experiment I did back in 2008. I was visiting India on a summer vacation. So I put forth this task to myself If I had all the money in the world, and all the time in the world, how would I live my life ? Money came by easily since I was staying at my grandmom's place, and she showered the world upon me. Time was not an issue either since I was there for 15 days and had absolutely nothing to do. All I did was meet friends, eat good food, and lazed around. Quite surprisingly, I had thought I would be doing so much better than that. I would be composing tunes for my yet unreleased album, I would be taking notes to write my yet unpublished book, I would be meditating, working out.... However, it didnt matter how much time or money I had... It all boiled down to what kind of a person I was. Sadly, I am the kind of person who tries to relax all the time, because there is always an internal dialog going on....Should I be working towards something, or should I be relaxing ? Guess what ? the dialog in favor of relaxing wins. Maybe I am just relying on my lizard brain, or maybe I am smart enough to realise that in the end it doesnt even matter what you did as long as you did it with people you loved and had fun filled moments in life. 

In words of the wise NateThe point is, it doesn’t matter what you are doing or where you go because wherever or whatever it is, there you are.

Emotional Quotient - EQ

People wont remember what you said, or what you made them do... but they will remember... How you made them feel !

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Notes For the Serial Entrepreneur on the Go

  • Once you own a process or system, even though above mediocre, why let it go ?
  • Generate a cash flow, while trying to master the process. e.g. once you handle financial records of your own small company, why not expand upon it and open up a new financial sector of your business, and provide services to external , non-competitive clients?
  • Also, you need to have a way of stopping other people do the same thing that you do. Eliminate competition.
  • Managers should paid as a % of sales, & weekly meetings at different locations.
  • Internal audits should be stronger than governmental , and other external audits.
  • Always have a personal overview of the finance.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Gems from Warren Buffett

  • Never be afraid to ask for to much when selling or offer too little when buying.
  • Overcome embarrassment. Be in control to walk away from a bad deal.
  • People with integrity are predisposed to perform; people without are predisposed to not perform.
  • You cannot make a good deal with a bad person. Reference checks are nifty.
  • You can never un-sign a contract. Do your thinking before signing anything.
  • Invest for life – like a catholic.
  • When Warren bought stocks in the bear market of 73-74, he said it was like a “sex-starved man in the middle of a harem with beautiful women”.
  • Buy companies with products that don’t have to change; businesses that will stay after 20 years.
  • Stocks are like pieces of a business. # of stocks * Stock Price = price you would pay if you were to buy the whole business. Would you buy it?
  • Invest in a business that a fool can run… because eventually a fool will.
  • If a business needs lots of capital to grow, it will not make you rich, because the business cannot invest efficiently in growth expansion, people or processes. Neither can it buy back its stocks. Such a company rotates money for a long time.
  • In a difficult business there is never just one cockroach in the kitchen. Warren avoids them even if the stock market is handing them out!
  • All man’s miseries derive from not being able to sit quietly in a room alone.
  • Coke, Wrigley, Gillette, Snickers, GE are companies that have gone on and on for a really long time. There is little that can go wrong with them. Where will their business be in 20 years from now?
  • Wall Street is the only place where people in Rolls Royce get off to seek advice from someone who rode the Subway.
  • Look for Integrity, Intelligence and Energy in your managers.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Humans and Financial Markets

A closer look at the social relations and the financial markets will reveal an interesting similarity.Everything happens for a benefit and the deal is either overvalued or undervalued. People and stocks;both are either over or under priced.
Person A invests time and emotions in a relationship with person B solely based on the net worth of person B. The net worth can be thought of in terms of wealth, fame, happiness or EQ.Most people will judge person B on basis of CURRENT net worth.
Networking gurus, politicians, etc., will invest in person B based on the POTENTIAL worth and CURRENT worth.
Now, how is this different from the financial world ?

I say, that a person can be overpriced or under priced because if a person is overpriced in one group of people he/she may not be thought of highly in another group of people.
Think of this on a larger scale in terms of international and emerging economies markets.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Ramit will teach you to be rich

"I will Teach You To Be Rich" is an amazing book by Ramit Sethi.

I am an ardent follower of his blog, and it looks like he has new insights almost every day.

His frat-boy like comments, yet buffet-type insights really strike a chord with today's generation.

Currently, I am saving up some money to enroll for his "Earn1K" Course. It is supposedly great for freelancers.

Code Of Business Conduct

Always conduct business at your place of comfort. A familiarity with the place/surrounding/people gives an upper hand in any business dealing.

Never hire dumb people. Nor only will they under-perform, neither will they let you climb up.

Always hire smart, good-looking people, and know what exactly you have hired them for. Allot a work ownership to those people, and make sure that they do their job. 99 cases out of 100, they will. Why? Because they are smart and they look good. They have a reputation to live up to.

Have your materials, inventory, and resources in place before you make promises. A promise not kept is a promise broken. A promise broken is customer lost, and that is something that should be kept under rigid control.

Turn liabilities into assets. Never let something which can make money, sit idle gathering dust.

Train your speech to be polite, firm and honest. Train your employees to be thus also.

Avoid selling land unless absolutely necessary. Land is something that has to be bought, not sold. Trading of land is acceptable.

Read, discuss and learn about corporate mergers, acquisitions, and historical monarchial imperialism.

The Future Of Education In India

How can we make educational systems adapt to address the needs of tomorrow?

How do we make it more inclusive, accessible & attract the right minds for the right disciplines?
The educational system in any country is both a social and economic necessity. However it is also a system that is not easy to change. The impact of any changes takes a long time to realize. The current economic growth, both at local and global levels, has created a huge demand for resources with various skills and capabilities. But the question remains - are we doing enough, are we doing the right things?

This question has two probable answers. One is a short term, and the other is long term.

Let's start with the short term answer.

The immediate tomorrow needs to sustain the economic growth that India has achieved in the past 3 years. For that, we need a highly skilled population- not only in terms of IT education, but also other disciplines( ranging from entrepreneurship to lawmakers, and doctors to salespeople ).While a huge number of people graduate from engineering, business or any other school every year, these masses lack in an "all round development " through the college years. When it comes to specific technical knowledge, Indian undergrads leave their western counterpart in the dust; however, they are not trained to have the "vision" per se to take India to the next level, or to think out of box in many cases. For such decisions, they rely on MBA certified managers or other leaders.

So I guess, a better balanced and kind of an all encompassing undergraduate academic tenure will assure that India continues its stupendous economic growth and can come up to speed with other nations at a faster rate, and stay there!

The long term answer definitely lies in increasing literacy in India. For any country to achieve sustained economic growth, the population has to be able to read and write and calculate!

The government school system of India is not the best in Asia (to say the least)

This is when the privatization of not for profit schools can come in. How many millions does an MNC spend in advertising???

What if that company, sets up a trust fund for an "x" amount of dollars, uses that money for setting up a school, and operating it? This charity work will not only ensure that the company gets media coverage, but will also work for the benefit of children who want to go to school, but have no economic means of doing so !

One plaguing issue that India has is that people want their children to work, and not go to school. Let’s look at one hypothetical situation to solve this problem.

Let’s say that the Ambanis decide to set up a plant in a village in Gujarat. The simultaneous opening of a huge school with the bare necessities (with the money that would have been otherwise spent in musical advertisements on all major TV channels) will ensure that they get a LOT of media coverage. The local laborers get employment, and their children (if any) get to go to school for free (this is of course assuming that the Ambanis want to put some money aside for philanthropy.)!

So, in a nutshell, for the long term improvement in education sector, the private firms , the big elephants must come together and devise a process that improves the quality of education at grass root levels in country, thereby improving their standing in the community, thereby improving their profits, thereby being able to spend more money on philanthropy, thereby creating a generation of well educated youngsters with smart brains, thereby being able to hire better Indians, thereby again improving their company profits !

Of course, neither of the two answers is as simple as I laid them out here, but the theory can work if further thought upon and then crystallized!