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Blink Vs Thinking Slow…

I can never forget my first swimming lesson. Our trainer who himself was a teenager inspired  me enough to jump at the deeper end of the pool, and which of-course i did. He eventually dragged me out, violently coughing and gasping for breath. Sounds enterprising but trust me none of us would wish to be in such situations and for us corporate workers it more important than ever to deliberate before executing.

Be it blink (by Malcolm Gladwell) or thinking fast and slow (by Daniel Kahneman), the importance of thought before any action is a must always. However, the approach, which differentiates the two is stark. For me Blink is an interesting book to read but when it comes to real life action, i would rather be slow and take the help of tools and systems in place before the plunge or intuitively establish cause and effect relations

Tectonic Shift & Napping Mammoths

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Traditionally and to a good extent in existing scenarios as well, a Video Conferencing solution remains fiefdom of senior and top management. A non-democratised and straitjacketed room accessible only to privileged few whose travel bills are exorbitant enough to create a gap. A huge investment just to ensure that you are able to squeeze in video (into the conversation) and ofcourse lots and lots of “Identity value”. Vendors till date have been able to do a decent job in increasing the “Identity Value” . Products like Apple, Mercedes, Nike etc have done a great job in creating and maintaining “Identity Value” hence keeping the cash register ringing continuously.
Sadly though traditional conferencing vendors have not been able manage sustainable “Identity Value” though. Not because of brand visibility but because of product usability. Let me elaborate a bit more of it, all of us would have the answers on finger tips if asked to name few video conferencing players who are top players in the market. This is brand visibility. Only two key features and lots and lots of “identity value”.
What is does not offer as seamless integration to its core is
  • Integrated white-boarding for taking notes,
  • document sharing, collaboration or annotation
  • ability to work together from multiple locations
  • Ability to take inputs from multiple sources (Like laptop, tabs, pads, Internet etc). If you needed it desperately add one more device called switcher to the clutter
  • to share MoM/final results after the meeting. These features are a huge contributor to a productive result oriented meeting
  • And limited number of rooms/user participation in a conference
What is the cost to get these additional features and many more?
  • some eagerness to explore and evaluate new things by uses
  • and a manageable learning curve for additional features
  • Willingness to explore beyond traditional
Personally as i shifted from traditional conferencing system to software dependent conferencing system what i had to personally invest was some not so dedicated time (about 2 hours, one hour for two days) to run through the additional features and learn to use them. Now i prefer client calls, inter-region conference calls, intra region team meeting all on my vc/laptop/phone with the capability to take notes on the same device on which we discuss, work on a common document and not mail multiple times, not being restricted to 4 or 5 users but add upto 50 users with a click of a button.
What you get from these new age conferencing and collaborating systems?
In a nutshell
  • Independence from a team of back-office staff to run and support it multiple vendor integrated solution
  • Independence from number of regions and participants barrier
  • Independent from being restricted to one room and one device
  • Ease of use: This is debated many time and users feel that it is not as easy. When users brought their first touch based mobile/smart phones the learning curve was there, however none bothered much over it. This was because the identity value was so high that the minuscule learning curve was nowhere in consideration.
What vendors need to do probably is create a bit more of Identity value and of course allow as many users as one can to try for free and experience with the products. Having said that even without the identity value, the technology wave is such tsunamic that the traditional technology would be wiped off like mammonths

Jogitation – becoming a jogging zen…

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Jogitation- as written, it is meditating while you jog. Good news is, it comes naturally, difficult part is getting over the inertia to begin. Despite undisputed benefits the consistency to practice meditation eludes me consistently. Personally i prefer jogging despite and aches and pains. A 30 minute quick trot gives me enough adrenaline to sail though a day’s rigmarole and an instant high just after the session. Pair of running shoes, relatively easy weather outside that is all we need. For indoors, gymnasium sans the blaring music.

I always wished to include meditation in my regime, having said that, I always struggled to do so and was never able to successfully bring it into my routine. Could be because of my inability to do both (jogging & meditating) on a given day or my inability to be patient through the learning curve.

Jogitation i.e meditating while jogging is something which i realised by chance and later on googled to discover some more about it. Once while I was jogging at a slow pace on a pleasant morning ,i realised could listen myself breathing rhythmically and was finding it relatively easy to just focus on it and keep hearing it and nothing else. I could concentrate on my breathing easily disconnecting many multiple distractions crowding my mind. The second day was not that easy though. Later on i realised that i was trying to begin as soon as i started my jog, warming up before it and probably jogging few 100 meters before it helps get into the role.  Since then whenever I feel like meditating I go for a comfortable jog. For me jogging on a trend-mill does not give as good a result as i get from outdoors.

Few tips if you wish to try?

  1. You can try it outdoors albeit inside your campus or in stadium preferable early morning or late evening when its pleasant outside.
  2. Begin by stretching first (Always a must) followed by few hundred meters of warm-up jog. If you cannot keep track of distance assume one step is approx a meter in length.
  3. Jog comfortable and not hard. Keep your pace constant. Try breathing slow, this will happen only if your jog comfortably and not run. Set your own pace, if need be you can walk. But the idea is to keep a comfortable pace.
  4. If you feel jogging becoming too tiring, try walking and begin the same way as you would do for jogging
  5. Focus on your breathing, and try listening to it. If you do not find it easy, try counting your steps or just count numbers in a rhythm..
  6. What I do is think only one thing at a time. Thinking about numbers keeps emotion aside, which helps me keep a constant mood throughout the session. To make it simple count your steps. The idea is to thing one thing at a time and breath easy..
  7. Be very very careful when you are trying this on a treadmill. Ideally i would not recommend trying this on a treadmill.
  8. While you are jogging, preferably outdoors try keeping your head straight and run as easily as you can. Some pleasing and constant music adds to the effort. However its extremely individual oriented and for me sometimes no music is the best music…

Happy jogitating… let me also know your experiences…

Oracles acquisition of Netsuite – A just another or…..

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Software major Oracle on Thursday (28th July) announced it was acquiring enterprise cloud services company NetSuite for nearly $9.3 billion in an all-cash deal – a move with which Oracle intends to cement its position in the growing cloud crm market and also reduce the lag by its late entry. The transaction is expected to complete by later this year.

It is the second largest acquisition for Oracle. It had acquired Peoplesoft in 2004 for 10.4bn USD. With Netsuite’s acquisition, Oracle intends to pitch harder against its friend/foe Salesforce. NetSuite has more than 5,000 employees and specializes in accounting and other back-office e-commerce software, particularly for smaller businesses. It has also created online software for manufacturing that is similar to some of Oracle’s software applications. NetSuite was one of the first companies to provide SaaS. It had a market capitalization of $7.37 billion before the deal was announced. In May, NetSuite unveiled software that unifies various accounting functions — for example, billing, revenue recognition, orders and subscriptions — into one system. NetSuite has more than 30,000 customers, the bulk of which are small and mid-size companies.

What could be the next step?

As per Mark Hurd CEO Oracle, the Oracle and Netsuite cloud offerings are complementary and can co-exist in the market for long time. Netsuite on the other hand can leverage Oracles global presence to increase its market breadth. Oracles dominance in database was nowhere influencing the cloud race.In a scenario where it was a late entrant and with a portfolio which was quite lagging behind AWS and Dynamics, it was continuously loosing out in the highly competitive arena of cloud crm. Acquisition of netsuite is a perfect marriage of opportunities. Amidst plethora of crm softwares which have cropped up in the near past, it can be comfortably said that salesforce is the real winner in this round, however with ever changing dynamics of business expectation from CRM, it is not what is now which will be important but what companies will offer is important. The CRM market is more or less matured enough. Today companies do not wish to have crm, manufacturing, accounting etc in silo but want to automate the entire lifecyle of business automated and talking to each other in sync. Most of the new age companies are build around automation. On cloud crm softwares like Uber, OLA, Airbnb etc use the platform to run the business and not sell the platform itself.

G2 Crowd CRM Review & Evaluation

Going forward, we will have two type of cloud buyers, one which is the cash cow industry and other which is  growth engine  to the IT industry. The cash cows are typically on legacy systems with huge DC/DR and multiple applications running in islands. They need to automate themselves to compete with the latest and nimble new comers in the market and hence the pressure on IT vendors to provide automating and seamless integration. Typically these cash cow industries have multiple vendors between the user and manufacturers with each focusing on specific roles. What is lacking here is seamless integration of value chain from one end to end. Vendors like Oracle &SAP which have traditionally been provider of heavy duty erp and database solutions to automate the back-end processes, now need to proved 360 degree view of end users as well and further integrate it seamlessly to the heavy duty engine running behind. Hence the drive to acquire 360 degree crm providers like  netsuite, salesforce etc. What lies ahead is not what netsuite brings on the table upfront but how Oracle leverages its technology to provide more value to its clients who are a cash cow. Here Oracle would try to ensure that these industry giants also evaluates its crm offering as seriously as Salesforce.

The growth engine industry primarily constitutes of those aggregators who depend on the heavy duty manufacturers to provide the anvil on which they grow. For example ola, uber, airbnb etc.. these players do have platform at their core and service as offering. IT vendor see immense opportunity in these players as they ensure that the final need of end users are met in a more user friendly manner. Hence the demand for players like salesforce, netsuite etc. With acquisition of Netsuite, Oracle intends not only to acquire its existing clients but also an opportunity it position its existing offerings and become an end to end vendor. For leading crm providers like salesforce, dynamics etc, to make it to the biggest league it has to foray into the attractive cash cow industry not just with crm offering but penetrate into the erp and database segment which is the biggest pie. For which it has to either have a foolproof strategic relationship with vendors like SAP and Oracle or acquire/invent something revolutionary.

The most probable outcome in the next few year could be acquisition of salesforce as well and then allowing the rest to die a natural death/exist in a niche OR salesforce/some other crm company acquires either Oracle, IBM or SAP and flips the world upsidedown..who knows??

 

Sources: Oracle website, bloomberg, crowd2,wsj

Nainital & Mukhteshwar Travel Diary

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Day -1: 19 june nainital & mukhteshwar

Probably the best moment in a trip is the day before you begin. It is all so filled with excitement of new, the chaos of managing things, fear of missing out important stuff at the last moments and of-course the loud quagmire of children running around and adding more to the mess.
We begin our short unplanned trip to nainital tmro morning with intention to visit bhimtal, nainital, mukhteshwar and sattal. We are taking the morning 6pm shatabdi express from new delhi to kathgodham and from there we will take a taxi to Nainital. We stay there for 3 ninght and followed by 2 nights at mukteshwar. Thinking of getting few days of relief from the delhi heat is one motivation which tops the list of reasons for a vacation. Alternatively one can also drive to nainital. For room bookings we have been hearing about airb&b with some good reviews, hence Unlike previous times we booked our room through it. Hopefully it goes well as it sounds. Nainital, bhimtal, ranikhet and mukhteshwar are the locations around which can be explored. For 3 days we are staying in Bhimtal and intend to visist nanital and near vicinity for a day at a time. Mukhteshwar is for two nights.

Have a nice trip…

Day 0: from Delhi to nainital

So nostalgic is the feeling of the station slipping by as the train leaves the platfomr. A gentle jerk,  few heavy clinks here and there and the journey has begun happily bidding adaeu to the platform, the tea wala, sleepy beauties at the window of a train halting at the adjacent platform and our revered RBI governor Mr.Rajan. We had our train at 6am from new delhi railway station and inted to reach kathgodam by 12am, from there a taxi to bhimtal. Delhi kathgodam express is what it is called, the clinks and chunks of a moving train has reduced a bit these days however the indigenous mix of wild shrubs, garbage and sqatting bums stays along..a well begun journey‎. With steam engines being replaced with electric ones I am so missing the chugging noise of an engine along with the clink and clanks from the tracks. As we cruise along the tracks murky suburban is soon replaced by more clean and green
This pic is at a cafe on the way to Bhimtal from kathgodam metro station
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All my copa cup and eufa cup marathon watching dream goes kaput. Nonethless cannot care much. Next plan of action, a subtle lunch followed by a walk around the vicinity and finally ending with cold beer. Logging out for the day….

Our cottage pics: thanks Sheff for arranging a lovely place.

Pindar Cottage

Pindar Cottage

 

 

 

 

 

Day 1: 21 June

Today we plan to take the local route to nanital from our cottage. One can either take a taxi which ofcourse can be steep at time or just hop and walk. For us it’s a two stop hop, from our cottage a short walk to farsauli, small bus hop to bhowali. From bhowali a shared cab or bus to nanital. Let the March begin….and we scurry back. Guess rain gods are on duty today. Waiting for the drizzil to pass by.  Thank you raingod, finally hopped on to the bus for bhowali. A short adventerous rollercoaster ends well at bhowali. From there begins a enqaully enterprising trip to nailital served with some breathtaking landscape outside and amorous lip gazing at the rear view mirror. Like any other journey this nice trip also ends abruptly at nanital leaving me with sweat and sexy hangover.

Birds eye view of Nainital lake

Birds eye view of Nainital lake

Nainital rondevous begins with a 30mnts boat ride followed by a personalised rowing session. An hour wellspent and A new skill acquired. Nanital besides it’s lake is famous for its Mall road and Tibet market and ofcourse naina temple. The temple which blesses the nanital lake. We the took a cab to nearby visitable points to ‎Himalya view, lakeview, sookhatal, baraftta trekking area, suicide point, khoorpotal.‎ What we missed were

A day well spent….

Day 2: 22nd June

Our second day begins sunny side up promising an active day ahead. Today’s POA is morning visit to kaichi wali baba followed by visit to the less chaotic bhimtal and ending the day with bbq at our cottage. Kaichi dham is baba neem karolis abode a pretty revered soul around this place. There is a famous story which trends around here which goes like this, once baba neem karoli had arranged a feast and a function for to commemorate some significant day. During the preparation his discipiles discoved that they had finished ghee and to cater to the overflowing crowd more ghee was required. The revered baba orderd his disciple to borrow some ghee fro ganga maiya ie the river beside the temple, the desciple went and filled the can with water and during the transit from the river to the temple  water turned into ghee. After the commemoration ceremony  baba ordered his disciples to retunr the ghee to maa gange. They took the can of ghee and during the transit from the temple to the water source the ghee in the can turned into water , the desciple pored the water back into the source. Such is name and fame of baba that internationally acclaimed personalities like Steve jobs visited  his mandir for his blessings. Jobs during his initial days had visit neem karoli baba but was not fortunate enough to meet him personally. Jobs mentee Mark jukerberg is also an enthusiastic follwer of baba neem karoli and had visitedhim in the year 2007. Few basic points about the place;

* It’s called kaichi dham because the name of the place is kaichi
* It’s actually called neeb karoli which is babas colloquial name. I gues no one knows what his real name is but neeb karoli is the name of the village where he belonged to
* Babaji is hanumajis devotee and the temple is actually a hanuman temple established by him and that is where he stayed all his later part of life.
* 15 June is the establishment day, devotees from across the world visit him on this day.

We too are trending the same path and my wife who is also an entrepreneur has decided to follow the path, and I being a meek follower follow my wife all along… Happy women empowerment. Setting aside all my scepticism’s and prejudices against any religions  buildings i loved the peace and comfort it offered. From there we set on for Bhimtal, the second most famous lake in vicinity. On a slightly overcast day i haven’t seen a more beautiful lake..(not that i am a globe trotter..)

Bhimtal on an overcast day...

Bhimtal on an overcast day…

At bhimtal, some zorbrolling followed by a aquarium visit, nice little funtime. For those who have visited aquariums at Singapore or queenlands it would not attract much.

On the way to sattal  through some breathtaking landscape I guess the light drizzel is adding to scenic beauty.  On the way to sattal you would find garudtal, an amazing place without any hustle bustle and an ideal place to camp, swim and do your own stuff. Guess the best among all the tals. BTW a “tal” means lake in hindi.

Day 3: 23 June

Today we go to Mukteshwar which is about 2hours drive from Bhimtal. On the way we plan to take a short break at Ghante wale baba which is again a famous religious point. We plan to start by 12 and reach by 3pm to Mukhteshwar. A fairly cool morning, from last couple of day I can make out that the weather condition in the beginning of the day does not mean the day will stay that way. Rain norain, sun nosun keep your day the way you planned irrespective of the weather. You will enjoy anyway, just keep and umbrella. FYI there are some amazing places where you can do camping all by your self with minimum fuss. There are also commercial camping points where you can visit but the fun of doing thins by yourself will not be there. Mail me if you wish to and I and guide you to those places (umesh.msr@gmail.com)
The temple is also called as ghorakhal temple. “Ghora” is the name of the place, which aslo mean horse in hindi and “Khal” in local language means lake

Some key points:

* This temple was established in 12century ad.
* The temples deity “golu dev” is believed  to be an incarnation of lord shiva. People visit here for their unfulfilled wishes and one they are fulfilled they come back to pay homage either in the form of flower, fruits or a bell. The most practised tradition is giving a Bell as homage.

We begin our voyage further up to mukteshwar. A breathtaking picturesque drive.

Somwhere on the way from Bhimtal to Mukhteshwar

Somewhere on the way from Bhimtal to Mukhteshwar

Day 4; 24th june

Penultimate day, an early morning start to a beautiful day. We plan to trek to hamuna temple at thr mukteshwar hiltop. Met with one of establishers of mukteshwar mandir.

A souvenir pic of babaji at mukteshwar temple……

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What a way to end the day, first a 4km hilly trek from the temple to our hill top hut and then again a village trek of 7km in dense forest with wifey n my babyArisha.  Tea with village folks and for once amidst not cooked but live turkeys and hens. Landed back tired and tested. A bonfire and a constellation filled sky to end the evening. Haven’t seen a clearer sky for as long as I can remember.

 

Day 5: 25th june

A well spent night in the jungle. Looking forward to more such visits. We return back today. Railway station about 70km from mukhteshwar. We have couple of hours serpentine drive from here to the railway station, followed by 6 hours train journey to delhi. ETA to Delhi at about 9pm today. Factoring in unforeseen hurdles and cloudy weather we are starting a bit early ie at 11am. I guess cities messedup life has grown into us over the period, five days of outstation life has left us wanting it back like an addict.

Back to pavilion but with loads of goodwill and memories. I wish i could find as empirical estimate of rural vs urban lifestyles

Keep Smiling...

Keep Smiling…