India gets cheaper

An untold story in the present financial crisis is how the Indian rupee is now at 50 rupees per dollar compared to last years 39 rupees per dollar.   That basically means that all Indian offshoring projects now get 25-30% cheaper to you if you are dollar based.In addition the Indian stock market at 9000-10000 levels is 50 % down from last year.This effectively means for a new dollar investor, deal valuations become as much as 70% cheaper.

Even discounting for added risk sensitivities and projected lower growth rates of 7 % only in 2009, India today is much more attractive for investment and outsourcing purposes.

LinkedIn Introduces Apps

Worth a look especially the WordPress App.

Source-
http://www.linkedin.com/static?key=application_directory&trk=fapg_1800

Featured Applications

LinkedIn Applications enable you to enrich your profile, share and collaborate with your network, and get the key insights that help you be more effective. Applications are added to your homepage and profile enabling you to control who gets access to what information.

  • Reading List

    Reading List by Amazon

    by Amazon

    Extend your professional profile by sharing the books you’re reading with other LinkedIn members. Find out what you should be reading by following updates from your connections, people in your field, or other LinkedIn members of professional interest to you.

  • WordPress

    WordPress

    by WordPress

    Connect your virtual lives with the WordPress LinkedIn Application. With the WordPress App, you can sync your WordPress blog posts with your LinkedIn profile, keeping everyone you know in the know.

  • Box.net Files

    Box.net Files

    by Box.net

    Add the Box.net Files application to manage all your important files online. Box.net lets you share content on your profile, and collaborate with friends and colleagues.

  • Blog Link

    Blog Link

    by SixApart

    With Blog Link, you can get the most of your LinkedIn relationships by connecting your blog to your LinkedIn profile. Blog Link helps you, and your professional network, stay connected.

  • Company Buzz

    Company Buzz

    by LinkedIn

    Ever wonder what people are saying about your company? Company Buzz shows you the twitter activity associated with your company. View tweets, trends and top key words. Customize your topics and share with your coworkers.

  • SlideShare Presentations

    SlideShare Presentations

    by SlideShare Inc

    SlideShare is the best way to share presentations on LinkedIn! You can upload & display your own presentations, check out presentations from your colleagues, and find experts within your network.

  • Google Presentation

    Google Presentation

    by Google

    Present yourself and your work. Upload a .PPT or use Google’s online application to embed a presentation on your profile.

  • My Travel

    My Travel

    by TripIt, Inc.

    See where your LinkedIn network is traveling and when you will be in the same city as your colleagues. Share your upcoming trips, current location, and travel stats with your network.

  • Huddle Workspaces

    Huddle Workspaces

    by Huddle.net

    Huddle gives you private, secure online workspaces packed with simple yet powerful project, collaboration and sharing tools for working with your connections.

Student Days-A Short Story

Hostels and their cultures

Writing alumni flashbacks can be tricky affairs. You have to write something interesting without letting your community members know all the juicy or tasteless details. Its been seven years since I was first cultured in Hostel Ten in IIM Lucknow, and I will try to be faithful to both aging memories as well as nostalgic revisions.

People sometimes ask me why I fight so much. Every time I ended up in an email war on the alumni e groups, or in one more important debate, I manage to surprise and alienate more and more people. All except my hostel mates from the class of 2003, from the hostel Ten . Nopes, my hostel mates , the X men (see later) do not get surprised. For it is there , in hostel Ten 2001-2003 , that I honed my instincts from.

In 2001, in a land far far away ,called Prabandh Nagar , group of smug yuppies entered many colleges. What was distinctive about that year was that it was the first batch with a size of 240 (as our equally smug seniors said quantity and quality are proportional), thus creating even more hostels (11 and 12). This led to temporary arrangements in Year 1 , and negotiations within Sikandar for the various football and other sports related activities.

Hostel 10 was divided into Ten tops and Ten bots (for the upper and lower floors), which was changed to a combined Hostel Ten in the second year.Hostel Ten along with Hostel Nine was a bit cut off from other hostels , due to the football field , was younger and newer in construction.We were different, and understandably proud of it . A collection of over erudite young people with time to spare had little encouragement for getting into me versus you contest and these were readily manifested in our contests in sports.

In our first year, Ten Tops won Sikandar and Ten Bots came second, so we had a combined treat at the Fauji Dhaba, with the special black pepper chicken and cold beer. In addition Hostel Ten also had some of the toppers (they claimed the serenity of the cut off hostel helped them study in peace better). In our final year, Hostel Ten combined won the football trophy , and in both my years, the topper as well as the athletics best student award went to hostel Ten.

Did Hostel Ten had a culture? We didnt know it then, but we had a distinctive appeal of brashness, of aggression in sports and in classroom presentations too. Did it help us I dont know, but a big majority of us did well in marketing as well as entrepreneurial careers.

Being far away from Hostel Ten and our lady colleagues, gave rise to a pseudo macho culture leading to video games on the newly established computer networks to teasing of special people who were friendly with the exchange students .

We even had a not very original nickname X Men where X stood for Ten as well as the then hit movies on mutants. We did have a cultural secretary, though he was responsible for Birthdays, and cultural activities like select foreign movie shows best not mentioned here. Our cultural introductions consisted of getting the juniors dressed up in formal suits , then taking them in the common courtyard, for a hilarious round of funny questions , in which they were subjected to buckets of water from floor 1. At the end of each introduction each new member of hostel Ten was given a nick name. Many years later these nicknames endure to the point of occasional hilarity, as we call each other in ever diminishing frequency.

Summing up, Hostel Ten was the place to be in during 2001-2003 and while 500 odd people might disagree , some of the lessons and experiences rubbed off inevitably on our persona. As the clich goes , those were the good old days, when we werent good , we werent old and we were really talking of tho0se endless starry Lucknow nights.

Book Excerpt- Riding the Austin Metro bus

Previously-Airport and the Houston flight with the Professor.

The way from the airport was a bit unfamiliar as my hotel was located in the Austinarboretum, which was in North Austin. There were two cabbies waiting near the airport but coming from India puts you at an automatic disadvantage when it comes to trusting cab drivers. So I decided to tae the Austin Capital Metro bus. The charts and maps were all colorfully marked and it took my engineering brain to map out the path to my hotel and time taken to wait for it. Bus riders are mostly campus students and I ran into two Asian American (Chinese) students at the bus stop . They had not heard of the arboretum either.

The bus came with clock work precision at the time promised.I climbed the bus to await my first american surprise- a frail old looing lady driver of the bus. While bus driving in India is considered mostly a macho blue collar profession , American roads and bus technology allow even Sandra Bullock, the film star to drive a bus as she did after the movie “Speed”. I followed the lead of the American students and dutifully dropped a 1 dollar bill in the note swallowing machine – another uniquely American technology. I got a day long pass. The bus lady told me I needed to catch another bus to reach my hotel, and she promised to drop me at the station for changing buses.This came after some half an hour at the sixth street, which my friends had promised me was a great and happening place. As I took my big suitcase and latop bag down, all I could see were deserted bars in the noon sun. The weather was nice and hot , forcing me to take my sweater off.

The bus stop was surprisingly crowded, with people who looked straight out of a Hollywood movie on the old and the destitute. Mostly African American with some frail white men and ladies , and a few Hispanic looking people who clustered tightly together. I clutched my suitcase with some nervousness. This was America after all, with all that crime you see in the big movies. It seemed the nervousness was mutual. After an awkward ,long silence and staring contest – one of the bus stop people finally spoke aloud- “Is that a bomb ?” , he pointed to my suitcase. “Nopes” , I said , “no Bombs here”.

Fortunately I was rescued by the arrival of the number 3 bus, and I used my day pass to swipe in and thus avoid paying another 50 cents for a single ticket ride. The Arboretum flashed on the bus quite helpfully, and I joined a wide variety of people on the very spacious air conditioned bus. “These guys should ride in a Delhi bus” , I thought to myself. They will then truly count their blessings . To my amazement, you could even stop the bus, by pulling a chain almost like a train back home. “STOP REQUESTED” chimed a nice metallic voice. The bus was colorfully festooned with ads promoting bus usage, spaces for luggage and even a row for maps, which I dutifully took.

Staring out of the window, at the uniformly ordered rows, blocks , and front drives of Austin – I settled down in the bus nicely. After a 45 minute , uneventful drive I arrived at a place where the new driver told me to stop for the Hyatt Austin aroboretum.

Next – The first ride to the Hotel.

Excerpt from the book “Flying with the Cougars”- a fictionalized and exaggerated account of a brown boy’s travels and travails to the West. All copyrights reserved.

Book Extract – Beer is good for the Economy

Previously- An introduction to Sixth Street

On Wednesday, the younger members of the project team decided to head out on their own. We wanted to stay out on Sixth street , Austin longer than the previous outing which had been cut short to eight thirty pm.The younger members of the project team were a diverse mixture.This included Tom, a white guy from rural Michigan, Lee , a Vietnamese -American and actual boat people refugee , Asok, a bearded guy from South India, another collegue from India – Sanjay , who was actually from Nepal and me the thin tall Punjabi Indian. Together we consitutued a mini United Nations commitee exploring weightier problems of the Austin beer economy.

The news all the week had been about of Wall Street crashes , so it was a comic relief to see a sign called ” Beer is Good for the Economy”. Literally and figuratively this was true. Beer is one of the last products manufactured in the United States. A visit to any local shopping mall to search for American products could be very frustrating as I would find out later. You might as well have landed in China , such is the overwhelming dominance of China made goods. Anyways, as we were about to pull in the parking lot – Tom decided to call his wife. Just as he called up, I shouted -“Hey Tom, Where are the lap dances”. Tom gave me his all American -glare ,muttered “Tick”, only to be interrupted from some loud noise from his cell phone.” What was that about ,Toooom!” , said a plainly irritaed voice from the cell phone. Tom turned from man to dutiful husband . “Nothing sweety n, just one of the Indians -Nepalese chaps, they are quite randy” he said in a cajoling voice. Another global phenomenon , I thought to myself. The sheepish husband controlled by remote control on the cell phone. I had more things in common with America than I thought.

Anyways we entered the restraunt ,only to find it was Thai food served with Thai-American waitress, not the usual college All American in short skirts (an undeclared and important fact finding mission of our United Nations commitee). The guys collectively gave a quizzical look to our team’s Chinaman ,Lee, who turned sheepish, shrugged and loudly said ” Welcome to Thai food, guys !”.

Next – Thai food .

Note-This is from the upcoming Book tentaively titled “Flying with the Cougars”, . It is completely fictionalized and exaggerated from any reality. Cougars refers to older women in America who prey on younger men, and is a funny term as referred in the Ocean 13 movie.Most air hostess in the US are thirty plus. The book talks of a two week visit to Austin, Texas by a brown guy from India.All rights reserved.Please contact me for publishing or movie rights.

Cutting Employee Costs not Employees.

 

 

 

  • use more contractors. use company alumni rather than out of town contractors as this saves the time for them to get up to speed.

 

  • use more skype rather than phones. get over the headphones discomfort. It is better than the unemployment discomfort.

 

  • use more WebEX meetings than flying people around. Money you save for your company will help you in retaining others, and yourselves. Most of the airlines money goes to the foreign oil providers anyways.

 

  • shop for cheaper open source software than blindly approve annual license fees.  this can save you more money than you think and is less complex. Dont go for 100 % either -or solution. Example replace 20 % of your desktops with open office , rather than microsoft office renewals.

 

  • use more variable linked bonus than flat fees for salaries. this helps separates the grain from the chaff. And improve revenue and cut costs rather than employees.

 

 

Each unemployed person is a drag on the economy that will take social security that YOU will pay anyways. Employed people spend money on groceries , movies and provide even more jobs or potential markets.

 

Mahatma Gandhi once said – Be Indian , Buy Indian. It helped India get rid of the British Empire.

Once in a while, think about paying a small premium for being American , buying American

A Framework for Diners

I thought of opening my own diner, but how to decide where to locate it ?
Note this is a generic model that can also be used to things like shopping malls, or even an service dealership , or any facility that is dependent on nearby population density.
Here is the approach and it is called Ohri Dhaba  Framework (in case you wish to use it, as I have the copyright ,thank you”)-
1) Take Google Earth or Any GIS data for mapping specific zones of City.
2) Use Market Research to get population density , income levels , ethnic preferences, age range , as well as probable customers for that kind of food/service/mall.
3) Use a KML (thats Google Earth format) parser to recover longitude and latitude of centroids of zones .
4) Add additional columns in each zone like other facilties like that (other malls in area)
5) Keep a shortlist of existing as well proposed new sites.
6) Make two circles for 3 km and 10 km penetration of the service from the existing sites and proposed sites.
7) using radius formula convert longitude and latitude to distance in km
8) Convert each site area into a mix of zonal areas (as in area1_3km = zone 1*A1 +zone2*A2…)
9) run regression on known sites ( whose customers are known) to get eventual customers , error terms and coefficients of additional columns in step 4
10) project probable customers of proposed sites.
11) Use feedback loop for changing time validation or percentage error term.
This is a framework for locating location sites using rules rather than gut instinct or pricing dynamics, etc. I am not sure how existing diners ,auto dealerships choose locations but that is more of perceived demand for new sites, and load on existing facilities rather than scientific. This may or maynot be patentable, as someone like X mart may have already built a facilty locating algorithm., but no framework exists to my knowledge.To the best of my knowledge there are many tools that help you locate a site, but no framework as such.