Showing posts from 2009

Book lovers never had it so good!!

This is a continuation of the theme that I talked about in my last post – new businesses started by people who passionately believed in their ideas, and felt that a need exists. Also it seems to me that more and more MBA graduates are turning entrepreneurs, letting go of plum jobs because they have faith in their ideas. Besides the theme, the idea / venture I want to talk about has something else in common with my last post. This venture is also for book lovers, and has made me regret having to move to Delhi for my job!!

The venture I am talking about is – an online library service. At the moment services of Xelf is limited to Calcutta only (as both promoters are based in Calcutta), but plans are under foot to expand to other cities soon.

The Idea behind Xelf is simple and brilliant. Xelf is a library with a twist – its online. being avid readers, the promoters came up with Xelf because of the drawbacks that they saw exists in conventional options. Purchasing books i…

LeBooks to revolutionize the way books are sold online in India

Many of the great businesses that exist today were formed because their founders were passionate about the subject, and felt that available facilities or businesses did not satisfy all requirements of a demanding customer. came into being when Jerry Yang and David Filo felt the need for a directory of websites so that it becomes relatively simpler for users to locate some specific site. Google was founded when Larry Page and Sergey Brin felt the need for a search engine that analyzed the relationships between websites would produce better ranking of results than existing techniques, which ranked results according to the number of times the search term appeared on a page. Dell Inc was formed when, while in his college, Michael Dell felt that by selling personal computer-systems directly to customers, PC producers could better understand customers' needs and provide the most effective computing solutions to meet those needs.

Besides being founded by users to address some nee…

A Vignette on corruption

I came across this on one of the blogs I regularly follow. Sharing this because I think this is relevant, and we all talk about corruption et al all the time. Once again.. your opinion on the matter will be appreciated :)
The original post can be found here.
Let me tell you a story. It’s a vignette of what I consider to be important although it may appear to be rather trivial. Perhaps its apparent triviality is what should astonish us. But allow me to first recount a conversation I had the last week.
A close friend of mine was visiting me one evening. Let me preserve his identity by just identifying him as RL. I have known RL since the first grade. Born to a Marwari business family, RL has done reasonably well in business. I asked how things were with his business of arranging trucking services all over India. “Same old, same old,” says RL.
“Tell me more,” says I. “You were talking to someone on the phone just now and you said ‘890′. What was that about?” I asked.
“That’s the price that I …

Diwali - should we celebrate it with crackers?

Given an option, I always chose window seat on the flight. reason being, I take childish delight in looking over the scenery, the snow white clouds, the ground where everything is minuscule, and far off objects.

Thus it was no wonder that I found myself occupying a window seat on my return flight from Calcutta to Delhi last Tuesday, after having celebrated Diwali at home. Flight from Calcutta to Delhi is especially pleasurable as for a large part of the flight, you can look snow capped peaks of Himalaya jutting out of clouds at a distance. The view, for me, is breathtaking and spellbinding. I also like to look at the ground, whenever there is a break in clouds, and try to figure out farms, towns etc. I have noticed the landscape change over the years, from being pre dominantly green, to predominantly brown - the shade of soil. I am always disappointed at the pace with which green seems to be disappearing.

This flight, however, had another surprise in store for me. My flight had to circl…

Of Design

It’s been long since Gagan hauled me in to co-author his blog. After months of lying back finally I sat down to write actually. I guess the first time you attempt writing what comes out is what is on your mind the most! What came out of my ‘search’ was a ‘ Design blah’. I’m an Architect. That should explain the torrent that will follow.

I run in circles inside my head (which I like to think, is where thoughts are processed). I tear myself apart with the thinking and analysing that I do. I figure that if I write about ‘it’, the gush of thoughts could have an outlet and peace might re-enter.
I'm very tempted to write about the design process that I'm involved in at present, for it is affirming some of my suspicions, contradicting some of my presumptions I had as a student, and taking me through a hurricane drive that I must admit I'm cherishing. I got my first large independent project. It's nothing like what I had expected. Why do we expect what we expect, I’m not sur…

Microfinance In a Spot Of Trouble

I am keen on Microfinance and try to follow related news / articles as much as I can. Last year I had gone on a research project with some fellow students and stayed in villages for about 10 days. From the discussions we had with villagers and MFI operating in those villages, I got a feeling that though there are many MFIs now operating in India, they do not yet have a clear structure or system to operate with. Villagers further showed a tendency to recycle loans, and often waited for the government to waive off loans.

Though life style of some of the villagers seemed to have improved, I did not see Microfinance making major impact on their means of income. If income was stagnant, improved lifestyle could mean only one thing - that loan was being used to meet household expenses, and not as working capital.

It was thus no surprise when I came across this article:

"Ketaki Gokhale in the WSJ: 'A credit crisis is brewing in Microfinance'
Here in Ramanagaram, a silk-making city i…

Microsoft Offers 90-Day Trial of Windows 7 Enterprise RTM

Disappointed you missed out on taking Windows 7 for a spin? Want to put it through the paces before committing to purchasing it? Microsoft is offering a free 90-day trial of Windows 7 Enterprise, no strings attached.
No need to worry about waiting in line for a download or scrounging for a license key. You can download the 32-bit and 64-bit, both with the license key packaged in the download.
To download windows 7, click here: Windows 7 Enterprise 90-day Trial

The Square Root of Three

A brilliantly cutely nerdy love poem by Kumar Patel in the movie Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay David Feinberg in reality.

I’m sure that I will always be
A lonely number like root three

The three is all that’s good and right,
Why must my three keep out of sight
Beneath the vicious square root sign,
I wish instead I were a nine

For nine could thwart this evil trick,
with just some quick arithmetic

I know I’ll never see the sun, as 1.7321
Such is my reality, a sad irrationality

When hark! What is this I see,
Another square root of a three

As quietly co-waltzing by,
Together now we multiply
To form a number we prefer,
Rejoicing as an integer

We break free from our mortal bonds
With the wave of magic wands

Our square root signs become unglued
Your love for me has been renewed

I found this article on Gaurav Sabnis's blog Vantage point, and couldnt resist posting it here too. The original post can be found here

Stocks I hold and love

I checked my stock portfolio few days back, and to my joy found that it was out of red now. I like trading in stocks, but I do not trade very regularly. And as a rule, I buy stocks only with long term horizon - min 1 year. I tried intraday trading too, and made some profit, but felt it was too small to merit the time and effort that goes into it. Further, I trade / invest with very small capital base, comprising of my own savings, thus the proportionate margin given by my broker is small too.
Warren Buffet said: Buy high, sell higher!! Though I do not strictly adhere to this maxim, I do not really mind buying a stock I like or have faith in even if it is trading high. There are often times when I find myself with some ideal cash, and I go on buying spree. Since such occassions are not very frequent, I usually go ahead and buy regardless of the direction market is moving in. Another reason for investing without considering the direction in market is moving is that since I invest for lon…

Azim Premji - My Lessons in Life

Someone recently mailed this article to me. I was about to treat it as another one of the numerous senseless forwards that we receive everyday from our aquaintances, that few lines caught my eyes. Here, Azim Premji, the one time richest Indian in the world, talks about his life and lessons that he has learned in his life.
I would've loved to publish the entire article had it been in text format. But since I'm too lazy to type the entire thing by reading the article, I'm posting it as a pic. Do go through it. :)

Story of Stuff

I came across this video more than a year back, and it immediately caught my attention. I felt that it talks about some very relevant issues, and we all should so our bit so that mroe and more people watch this, and hopefully, take something away from it.
One of our Professors even screened this during one of his classes, and I know for a fact that it change the outlook of atleast one (other than me) of his students. To quote him, 'I was earlier a believer of consumerism, but having seen this video, I'm now a believer of anti-consumerism.'
Everywhere around me, I see ourselves slowly and steadily heading towards crisis. This summer, temperature everywhere has been off the charts. Almost everyone I know has been complaining about excessive heat, and global warming has been quite a buzz word. But I dont notice anyone doing their bit to reduce global warming. As I have mentioned in one of my earlier posts, one does not need to take some major steps to contribute, small changes …

Few things to keep in mind while studying at IIMs

I recently came across a list of 50 things that MIT's admission department recommends its undergraduate students to keep in mind while they are studying at MIT. This list was composed by MIT alumni who was then allowed to post it on a blog maintained by admission department. I found this to be a pretty cool idea, and hope that IIMs too would come up with something similar soon enough. We already have websites and forums facilitating interaction and mentoring of all those who get calls for GD & PI during the interview process. While at the campus, our Alumni Association does an excellent job of facilitating interaction of students with numerous alums pursuing careers in diverse fields. During induction we have some very senior alums who talk about pretty similar, if not same things like the one mentioned in this post. However, I feel use of blogs by the admission department takes student interaction to an entirely different level altogether. Way to go! I have modified the list …