Saturday, August 16, 2008

MBA Terrorists

Terrorism - 'Black Listed' world in the present world. I don't need to go into details about what is it and how is it affecting all of us. This post is just a fragment of my imagination of conversation between terrorist, who are MBAs :)
Disclaimer: This is post is not intended to hurt any entity. Please take it in lighter sense :)

Terrorist 1: We recently made blasts in B'lore and Surat. How was the impact of those ?
Terrorist 2: We had short term gains but in the long run I don't think we have gained much.
Terrorist 3: hmm... I also have the same opinion. You know, I think we have not planned our strategy properly. We should first have all our basics in places. We don't even have mission and vision statements defined!
Terrorist 1: Fair enough. Lets start by laying our foundation properly. Although we have some mission statement, its better to put that in writing so that the whole organization is aligned.
Terrorist 3: Yeah. So, our mission statement is "To create new business opportunities such that the highest cash flows pertaining to any budget in the world would be directed towards us. Hence, we are instrumental in running the growth engines of the world's economy by increasing the government's expenditure and also of that of the general public. We aspire to create tremendous employment opportunities through direct and indirect means and provide constant learning and growth opportunities to our employees by hand on experience on some of the rarest adventures of the world. We also help in getting back the black money back into the main stream where it can be utilized for the betterment of the people."
Terrorist 2: wow! You make me feel like a saint.
Terrorist 3: Now, the Vision statement, "We aspire to create a global organization with reach from Snow to Desert. We want to have 50% of world's GDP. For the better world we aim at controlling the world population by increasing the mortality rate and making it equal to birth rate by 2010 along with our partners and competitors. We also aim at removing the dearth of world leaders by creating new world leaders and public icons and our strong leadership and training programs are aimed to achieve this." Have I missed anything ?
Terrorist 1: Its sufficient for the time being. We can always improve our vision later.
Terrorist 2: Hey, but who are our stakeholders ?
T3: Common! Everyone in the world is our stakeholder. we don't discriminate and we touch each and everyone's life.
T1: Ok, now lets get down to formulate strategy... Let us start by analysing our position... Lets apply Porter's 5 forces model.
T2 (to self) Ahhh! I joined this organization to escape that crap and here again I am stuck with it.
T1: Lets start with our suppliers.
T3: Well, we don't have any fixed supplier! It keeps on varying...
T1: yeah yeah... you are right. So, that means that we are not dependent on any one supplier and hence supplier power is very less... so we are strong at this front.
T3: Same is true for our customers. We are suppliers to the whole world so we are not dependent on one region for our growth. Our risks are pretty much spread out and our customers have virtually no bargain power on us.
T2 (to self) What crap.
T1: How about the new entrant ?
T3: They are always beneficial for us... You see they are more of collaborators than competitors. In fact we don't have competitors as such.
T1: You are mistaken my friends... America is in fact our biggest competitor. But yes the entry barriers are so high that no one can easily enter this business without our help or our competitors' help.
T3: Oh! I overlooked that point.
T1: The situation is very odd over here. Our biggest competitor is also our biggest collaborator.... after all its only because of the these huge economies that we are surviving!
T2: !@#!@!%$^$^%$&$#@#$@$^&*%^*%^^
T3: And there are no substitutes for us. Peace and negotiations can never achieve what we can.... they will stagnant the world economy and lead to increase in population with no increase in resources....
T1: I think we are in a quite comfortable position... Thats a good sign.
T3: Not really... We have to think seriously about our competition else we will be eradicated completely.
T2: I think we should increase our business... That way our reach will also increase. Moreover, over competitor is bounded by various treaties and diplomacy so it won't be able to keep pace with us.
T1: Good suggestion. So, where can we really expand ?
T3: For deciding upon that we must keep in mind that the investment we make should have long sustaining effect.
T2: Yeah... we have just bombed 2 cities of India. How about expanding more over here ?
T1: Whats the use of that! The government of this country will not do anything.... People would be terrified for a day or two but since from past 61 years this is going on so they will become used to that also. There are no long term returns you can expect from this place. Moreover, many of our own people are in politics over here.... and rest be assured that Government is not going to do anything except talking. So, cost benefit analysis does not support this market.
T3: hmm... Africa is pathetic... so no chance over there... how about USA ?
T2: We have already tried it once and the response was quite good for us.... although we suffered heavy loss in Afghanistan later but I think that because we approached it incorrectly.
T1: Yeah, impact wise thats the most favorable area. It will lead to chain of events including heavy investments in various areas. moreover, our brand value will increase several times. The indirect marketing benefits would be worth several billions. In addition the present value of the future cash flows of terrors would be huge... In fact maximum. But we should hedge ourselves from the future losses because of that.
T2: That we will do. So, everybody game for USA ?
T3: Market looks attractive to me.
T1: I am also in.
T2: Fine then. We are targeting US. Do we need to access the market size ?
T3: Not really, we know that it will be the biggest. So, lets skip that part and concentrate upon our market strategy.
T1: We need to identify the area which would be most effective for us. From where our benefit to cost ratio is maximum.
T2: So you mean to say, our investment should be minimum but the benefits should be maximum.
T1: Exactly.
T3: US as you know is also competitor. So, going into its territory and doing business over there is quite expensive from the logistics point of view and we have to cut through all the checks and measures put against us. so, cost are really very high.
T2: Can we outsource that part ?
T1: To whom ? Its not India.
T2: Then we can do something remotely ?
T3: Remotely ?
T2: Yeah... Something like Remote Infrastructure Management... Something like that.... It should be possible.... lets think....
T1 (Thinking)
T2 (Thinking)
T3 (Thinking)
T1: Idea!!!
T2: What ?
T1: See our goal is to reap maximum benefits with minimum investment. Right ?
T2 and T3: Right.
T1: Then lets hit where we could have maximum impact... Lets destroy the backbone of US... Lets hit its economy.
T2 and T3: HOOO HAAA HAAA!!! What joke! We are terrorist not economist.
T1: Yeah, but we are MBAs too... Just think.... the panic which we can spread by that.
T2: and how do you propose to do that ?
T1: Hey, isn't this the same country who boast of advancements and blah blah... Just think carefully. It has computerised everything from stores to banks to its defence system. If we can just disrupt its databases... This can bring so much chaos which even 10 twin tower collapsing can't bring.
T2: Cool... and then we can even control its defence systems and turn it against itself....
T3: And all this through remote location.... minimum cost.... off shore model!
T1: Yes... and this will have rippling effect on the whole world. so, by just targeting one country we can bring the whole world to its knees. There will be chaos and civil wars and then wars between countries. So, our population control goal will also be met... I can see that we can very easily achieve our vision by this....
T2: Very true..... In fact we would be controlling the fate of every person on this planet.
T3: Yeah, and thats the first step... we can even control the mobile networks and hence every mobile device of the world. It would give us incredible reach.
T1: Great idea! Through mobiles we can get into personal life of any one and this will also help to identify future employees..... wow! there seem to be infinite opportunities.... I feel so excited.
T2: Me too.
T3: so what are we waiting for....lets implement it.
T1: Yeah, lets go and hired few Engineers from India....
T2: Why hire ? Lets kidnap a few dozen.... Remember we are in a cost cutting mode.
T3: As you wish...

Thursday, August 14, 2008

The Dark Knight

Today, I feel writing on 2 topics. One is the Cyber Laws, because I read something about Google being sued in the Bombay High Court, and the other is on Dark Knight, because I just watched the movie yesterday. But since my previous 2 posts have been a bit on the technical side so let me defer the idea of cyber laws for the time being and take up the Dark Knight.

I am not going to write about the story etc. There is a something in the movie which was very peculiar and I know that many people have noticed that. I am talking about the relation between Joker and Batman, especially the last conversation between them when Joker was hung on the building by Batman. Joker said that they share a special relationship. 'When an irresistible force meets an immovable object', its a classical paradox and this how Joker described his relationship with Batman. Interesting! Indeed very interesting. He said that Batman won't kill Joker and Joker too on his side will never kill Batman, because they are necessary for each others survival: they are same. I can relate the same thing to many of the classic movies I have watched like the Star Wars which brought out the concept of Force which had both, dark and bright side. But this took me back to my engineering days when over the dinner we friends used to have heated arguments :) and on one such instance Amit, Chintan and I were at loggerheads with Amit and Chintan on one side and me on the other and we were discussing the relationship between Hindus and Muslims (the evergreen time pass hot topic to discuss :). Time pass because you know you can never reach a conclusion but still you discuss just for the sake of it). We were discussing Gujarat riots when at one point I said kill Muslims today and when all Muslims will be killed then you will find some other thing to fight and then inter caste fight will start and then kill each other on the basis of caste and then something else. To this one of them said, "Thats how the world is. Human needs the existence of opposite for its own existence. It needs someone and something to fight against else it can't survive!" Well this is the very true, isn't it? Consider this. We say that God is almighty. He/she is above all, the most powerful. Then why does the devil exists? If God is most powerful then why don't he/she eliminate the devil completely once and for all? The reason is the same. God needs an opposite force for his/her own existence. I mean, how do you call something white when there is no black, something good when there is no bad, something sweet when there is no sour, something bright when there is no dark! It is the essence of everything.

The ending of the movie is also very good. This is because its about the selflessness of the true hero. Well, not a hero but a guardian angle. Just ponder over this: Batman took the blame of all the killings by the other person to keep the image of the hero alive in the eyes of the people because heroes are infallible. Its the matter of people's faith and he stood to protect that at the cost of himself. He didn't want to be a hero himself, but he is always there to protect Gotham. I liked the closing dialogue which Jim Gordon made, "Because he's the hero Gotham deserves, but not the one it needs right now...and so we'll hunt him, because he can take it. Because he's not a hero. He's a silent guardian, a watchful protector...a Dark Knight." Just think over it, it says a lot of thing :)

Sunday, August 10, 2008

ICT - What it means to you

As many of you know, I am a B.Tech in ICT (Information and Communication Technology) from DA-IICT. In 4 years of engineering and even now, I have gained expertise in explaining people what exactly is ICT, because whenever someone used to ask me the question, " What are you doing ?", and now "What have you done ?" then my answer has always been "B.Tech in ICT". The next sentence from the other side has always been "Oh! IT". After that I have to explain them what ICT is, unlike many of my friends who took the easier path of accepting themselves as IT professionals and put an end to the discussion. The same question has been asked to many of my friends in many interviews and tomorrow again I am expecting this question. So, better to put it down for the benefit of one and all and hence this post.

Information is power. But what exactly makes information powerful ? Its communication and dissemination of information that makes it powerful and effective. This is the underlining philosophy behind ICT. In the 1990s there came a boom in IT. This was the phase when organizations and individuals alike started developing and using software - stand alone software. This phase was about converting data into information. During the late 1990s internet started gaining popularity. This was the start of the phase 2 - the ICT revolution. The focus was dissemination of information. So, ICT is the next level of IT. ICT includes converting data into information, managing information and disseminating information. Now, every technology, every device and every method which does all these is a part of ICT. People many times misinterpret ICT as Telecom. Yes, Telecom is a part of ICT but its a proper subset of ICT. ICT is much much more than just telecom. The earliest ICT technology which I could think of right now is telegraph systems. Presently, internet, telecommunication, web 2.0, embedded systems, smart homes, smart cards, RFIDs, ERP systems, CRM systems, railways reservation systems and the list will go on and on, are the examples of ICT in action. The mission of ICT in the present context is 'Connecting Everything with Everything Else'.

If you think carefully then today, everyone is heavily dependent on ICT. And future will definitely be governed by ICT. So, whats the next big thing happening ? If we look at some of the the stats then as of 31st March 2008 nearly 21.9% of the world's population is using internet (source: Mobile penetration in India is around 25%. These numbers speak something. They speak about the growth opportunities in these spaces. But apart from connecting masses, the real next wave of development is in accordance to the theme of connecting everything with everything else. All the devices will be connected together with your mobile phone at the center stage. I wrote a paper in my B.Tech and it was about how our mobile phones can be used as remote controls. Although my paper was not selected for the competition but I strongly believe that will become reality and with cloud computing and smart phones a glimpse of that can already be seen (you see how futuristic I am! But the problem is people don't easily accept when you present something new to them! woff.....). Mobile phone will be your digital identity. It will act as a key, as your credit card, as your remote control and any thing you can possibly think of. But this has sometime to become a reality, but surely within next 10 years. In the immediate future what is going to change our lives is the Windows 7 release in 2010. Microsoft surface technology is going to redefine the way we use gadgets presently. It will also help in penetrating the masses as touch screens are much easier to communicate with than any other device. The only factor which will be extremely crucial is the cost factor. If we look at the business implications of all these developments then the integration of mobiles and the goal of connecting everything with everything else will change the way in which presently any industry functions. PDAs are already popular in the business fraternity but this is going to create new businesses which will focus on providing application based on the principle of connecting everything with everything else. Network Security will boom. New devices will be innovated and all the devices will be revolving around the touch based technology. I am not sure of the bio tech impact. But surely there are some interesting researches going on in that area also and ultimately that will also merge with the connectivity principle. Remember the movie Minority Report in which personalized advertisements were given to 100s and 1000s of users simultaneously, Bio Tech can make that possible.

There are some challenges also. The challenges are less technical and more social. When you are connecting everything with everything else such that there is seamless communication, you are relying too much on technology. In other words there is always a danger of you being trapped in technology. And unethical hackers can destroy you very easily. So, security is of prime concern. At the same time user sensitive information is to be handled carefully. I mentioned in my earlier post of web 2.0 about the way people use a system. The point is people will continue to do so ignoring the underlining principles on which system has been built and later they will blame the system for it. So, proper user education is a must, which is the most difficult task. Another one of the most important point to note is the increase of digital divide. This is a very important point and if ignored it will destroy our civilizations because the political implications of the increasing digital divide where 25% of the population is 2 curves ahead of the other 3/4th will raise issues which won't be easy to solve! But there is ray of hope over here also. Since there would be gap in the society, it will create new businesses to fill that gap - afterall that what free market is supposed to do, but how far will it go is difficult to predict.

So, you see ICT is much bigger then what the general perception is. Hope this piece has helped you to understand ICT and next time there would be lesser people asking me "Oh! IT"....