Sunday, July 31, 2011

Picking the right battles

There was a certain role I was asked to take up as a matter of fire fighting. It was not a role originally expected out of me, not my strength but at that point of time it was a circumspect decision. I managed to contribute to extinguish the fire and people expected me to continue but I quit. Its true that I quit half disappointed that certain things should be better done and we are doing it wrong. A person told me if it was him he wouldn't have quit but would have fought for the cause till everything was rectified. I just smiled, never answered and let him think that I had chickened out. I let my ego take a back seat.

In another few instances while certain issues were going on I opted to keep quiet. Being a very vocal person and all of a sudden being silent on certain things puzzles the other people. Some understand after ages but the others never understand the reason behind the silence.

This realization is something I got out of reading the art of war. A great general will carefully avoid battles than fighting them all, he would pick the battles which are worth being fought for. Every battle fought depletes the resources. In life too time is limited, they deplete your emmotional stocks, you cannot fight every battle/cause that you come accross, you need to pick them as per priority and be coherent with the lifes objective. Hence its ok to be rated as a "loser" in one persons book while you are fighting the one worth to be fought. In life too it doesn't count how many battles you won but what matters is whether you win the war.

Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Urban wild life

I am lucky to live in a place where I can capture these pictures just outside my window.

urban wild lifeurban wild life

The reason I remembered the monkeys is because day before yesterday I was reminded an idiom which said, "If you pay peanuts you get monkeys" but then I didn't pay anything and still got real monkeys around here and feels bloody 'lucky' :D

Friday, July 29, 2011

IT organizational lifecycle

It just clicked to me when we are analysing a technological company to formulate a strategy, other than the usual tools, a lifecycle analysis can reveal crucial information which we would have missed when sticking to a usual SWOT or a PESTEL.

I see that there are atleast four lifecycles which should be analysed. The organizations life cycle, the industries lifecycle, the technology lifecycle and product's life cycle. The fourth factor is valid in case of a product oriented company or a company which aspires to be one.

Let's assume there is a fictious company which is 2 year old with 15 employees and is developing symbian and blackberry personal time tracking client applications.

step 1: we need to find out which phase the company is in. Above given seems a small start up in its growth phase. Being small, probably indicates that the organization can be agile and adaptable.

Step 2: lifecycle of the industry. The mobile application developement industry is in its growth phase and with the advent of cheaper smart phones it seems it will grow for the foreseeable future, there doesn't seems to be a clear leader of the pack at the moment and a lot of start ups are rushing into share the spoils. The playing fields are relatively flatter than matured industry.

Step 3: analyse the technology life cycle in the industry and the technologies used by the company. For example, Symbian is a technology for which the sun has set, hence the future looks bleak, where as blackberry still has a market but the dominance is between iphone and android.

Step 4: we need to analyse which phase the product is at. There are two approches that can be taken. One is to find the users of the system and find which segment is using it. Whether if its the innovators using it, or is it the early majority, or are we peaking with the majority or are we at the tail end where we are seeing the lagards embracing it slowly. This is called as the chasm model.

The second model is to map and see whether the product is developing, growing, stable, cash cow or sun setting. For example the symbian version is either a cash cow or a sun setting version.

I guess this kind of analysis gives a holistic perpective to understand the battle lines of the organization.

Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Traitor or Patriot ?

dealing a thorny issue

He is changing color while dealing a thorny issue, do you call him a traitor or a patriot?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Nameless film

It was one of those busy days where I had to train people from morning till evening. I was feeling burnt out and the only thing I wanted to do as soon as I retreated to the hotel was to sleep. Since I was alone and no one around to speak with, I switched on the TV and then started to prepare for the next day. Although I sometimes switch on the TV, I am not a fan of TV so I seldom notice whats on it and never bother to switch channels.

Soon after I completed the preparation I fell on the bed with a lot of relief and for some reason on this strange day, the program on TV attracted my attention. First I got attracted to it since I saw a familiar hindi face on an English language film. But my knowledge about Hindi actors and actresses was poor so I didn't know the name of the actress, but I can remember seeing her face in the movie "kadal desam" . I watched for a few mins and for some reason I couldn't switch it off and sleep. It was very different and the developing story line was captivating my mind.

Being a child who have had the identity crisis at a certain point of time in life the main character Gogols struggle was something I could understand. His mothers sentiments were the things I had seen from a lot of elders around me. I could connect each thing that was going on with either my life or of the life of someone whom I know well. It was strange, it gave an eerie feeling, I couldnt stop thinking how did someone capture this delicate issue in such a script, unless the writer had lived through it he or she couldn't have come up with this. As time progressed I was sure that its a master piece, given the context and mind set I was in it was a brilliant movie. But I had an issue and a really big one, I watched a movie, liked it to bits, but i do not know the name of a movie. Believe me its a such a bad feeling.I depended on  Google to find me the name of the nameless film by searching the phrase "Gogol film" to be told that its "The Namesake"! The casting list said the actress whom I had seen before was Tabu. Then after a few month's my friend made a post about the Novel "Namesake" and that was the point at which I got to know that it was a movie adopted from a novel.

Now I go around telling people who are going through or had gone through similar struggles to watch the movie! Seriously its mind blowing and beautiful! Watch the trailer below.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


The whole of today I had been utterly confused, when I was eating my mind was going through the same thought process, when I tried to sit down and write a blog again the same thought was crossing my mind. Its a huge internal battle between the metabolism in the system, its nothing less than a battle between the heart and the mind. Heart pulls in one direction and mind right in the opposite direction. The question is should I or shouldn't I buy a DSLR.

I already have a good point and shoot camera, in the recent times I get these thoughts,  its sharpness is not enough, I want to play a bit more with the RAW images and I had peaked with a point and shoot and its time to try the next level. Not forgetting that what I have is a good camera and I really like the zoom, which I doubt I can ever pay and buy a lens with that capability on DSLR. I was warned by  some pro's when I wanted to buy this point and shoot that I will get this syndrome after some time.

I am still not sure whether I will buy one or not, but the only conclusion that I have arrived at is that "mind is a monkey". Now I want to get this confusion out of my mind so that tomorrow will be a clear day!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Some classic myths at work places

In my wee bit of experience I have had in the co-operate world I had observed certain myths people have, which usually leads to epic failures.

Myth 1: Lets try to sort out the problem among us without letting higher level authorities know about it.
Covering up major things is almost like pasting some antiseptic less plaster on a festering wound. It just covers it up for a day or two to eventually come out as a bigger problem. Within an organization there should not be cover up of issues. If its happening either its an unhealthy organizational culture or the particular individual's approach is wrong. Certain issues that we consider as issues might not be issues at all, so discuss openly and most of the time it can be sorted out by other means

Myth 2: He is my boss, so I take his word on work related instruction.
This is the typical "Yes bass" culture. Get a life, he is human, he can make mistakes and might not have seen the different perspective. If the objective is shared among the team and if everyone is striving for common good its a duty to take it up and rectify it.

Myth 3: I am sure I can always do a better job than my sub ordinates. 
If its real then its a serious cause for concern and it indicates that your recruitment strategy is good for nothing, on the contrary it might be that you are bad at delegation. Think about it, people have different strengths and weaknesses and everyone cannot be good at everything, so identify the strengths and use them. Instead of trying to live as the know it all.

Myth 4: He is inexperienced to do it
More the years better the work output is a big myth.  I think at any job role the steepest learning curve is during the first six to 12 month period. For someone who has at least 6 months experience give them a chance, support and time they would do it, as long as they have the capacity.

Myth 5:  When you recruit, always recruit people who can be kept "under control". 
You would observe that most of the amazingly talented people have alarmingly eccentric characters. They would have a lot of confidence in their abilities, a no nonsense attitude and endless energy. These are the type of people who can transform organizations and take the organizations to a few levels of standard above. But at an interview they wouldn't get a tick if you are looking for a character who could be kept under control. There is a rule which says, whenever you recruit always recruit people who are better than you! It takes a strange level of realization to accept this reality and reap the reward of such recruitment decisions.

Myth 6: I need to be popular 
Job is not a popularity contest, unless you are a politician who has to run for office every 5 years. The success is not measured on how popular you are but on the output you produce. Do the right thing which is coherent with the overall objective of the organization, if the right thing makes you unpopular so may be it for the time being. This applies specially if you are in a management role.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Manthira punnagai

For the last seven years I think I have watched almost all the major Tamil movies released. My taste of movies had always been distinctly different. At times I like the movies others don't like and hate movies which others like. So this is an early warning for those who might depend on my comments to make the choice to watch the movie. Do it at your own risk!

One of the movies that impressed me during the last twelve months was "Manthira punnagai". It was a total surprise package for me. When you sit down to watch a movie usually you have some sort of expectation based on who had directed or who is acting. This was a movie I had zero expectation at the start, but it was surprisingly impressive! It was a movie without the usual big names but it had a good story line touching, some delicate issues with an impressive script.

I saw it as a psycho thriller, but most importantly I saw it as a movie which deviated from usual Tamil dialogues, I know some argue that the dialogues were too raw, but for me I have no complains - it was classic!  As usual the only complain I had when watching this film was that I couldn't stop thinking "why do they forcefully include songs in the films?", but one song and its lyrics made perfect sense with the film - It was the song "satta sada sada".  I see it as a one of a kind film in Tamil and is worth watching. watch the trailer below!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Jobs and Genetics - The analysis

Most of the people from my parents generation, usually would boast of decades of work experience at a single organization and at times would also mention that they had worked only for one organization through out their life!Recently I got caught to a set of old timers who were bashing our generation for switching jobs as if switching clothes.

This prompted me to do a bit more thinking on this subject and eventually I wanted to find answers to two questions.

Question 1:  Is there a genetic influence in job switching? 
That means if a parent had the habit of switching jobs has it influenced the child's job switching pattern.

From the data I collected up, I calculated Spearman's rank correlation for the average time at an organization between the child's and parent's to find that the relationship was a mere 0.30. Which is a very weak relationship. Surprisingly when I did the calculation to find out the rank correlation between the "child's highest work experience at a single org/child's total work experience" vs "parent's highest work experience at a single org/parents's total work experience"  it was a -0.05 correlation.

In simpler terms the obtained results can be interpreted as follows, just because a parent switched a lot of jobs - it cannot be taken as an indication that the child will have a higher probability of switching jobs. Secondly, just because a parent spent bulk of his career at a single organization - the child cannot be expected to spend bulk of his working life at a single organization.

2. When our generation grows old, will this generation also stop moving jobs and ultimately end up with similar statistics?
The curiosity was to find whether if this kind of job switching had been their earlier in the earlier generations  youthful days.

This analysis gave some interesting averages,

Average in years
Average time at an organization for current generation
Average time at an organization for father's of earlier generation
Average time at an organization for mother's of earlier generation

Best part is this,

Average in years
Average time at an organization for current generation Male
Average time at an organization for current generation Female

It's clear who has problem in making up the mind?! is it? lol

coming to the question of generation, the number of job switches our generation had made even in terms of raw numbers is higher than the parent's generation figure! So probably the boasting the next generation might be here is - I switched x number of jobs within y number of years! 

So the numbers tell me that Job switching is not a genetic thing but its a generational thing.

There are some interesting by products that has come out of this survey, will try to post them in a future post.

Above all a big thank you for those who responded to the survey. Thanks a lot!

Friday, July 22, 2011

A Century!

If you assumed that I will talk about a century scored in cricket, sorry you've got it wrong. This century is to do with me, hence it cannot be any major accomplishment like a century in a cricket match or the score for an exam paper. Its just that I had continued my idiotic rantings on this blog for the past 99 days and this is the 100th day on the trot.

I was curious to find out the pattern of visitors and whether the Pareto principle will apply or whether if the long tail will apply. As it stands now, the top twenty posts (thats 20% too, in terms of visits ) had generated only 31% of the total traffic. It would be interesting to see how this pattern will change with time and whether the visitor pattern will eventually lean towards Pareto principle . Any way, as of now, the larger part of the population lies within the tail of the graph, hence it might be safe to say that the blog has had a small set of regular visitors.

The biggest mystery I have is why people from 57 countries paid a visit to this blog during this period,  I do understand the plight of my friends, for them of course this has been a real pain where the post regularly turns up on the buzz, sometimes on facebook and even on twitter at times. But then why on earth did others end up from countries in which I do not have friends?!. Anyway my heartfelt thanks for those who had paid a visit and specially for those who had given comments and feedback. Last but not least I tender an unconditional apology if I had wasted your time! Have a great weekend!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Ordering of my favorite Tamil songs about Mother

1. Simply my most favorite song! Great lyrics, music and singing together, make it a divine experience for the listener! If I am given one song to listen before I die I would definitely pick this song.

2. I like the lyrics of this song and the emotions expressed by Rahman in the song.

3. An all time classic. Simply amazing.

4. A classic song from one of the best psycho thriller movies in Tamil.

5. A soulful song.

6. A joyous celebration of mother

My sincere thanks to my friend for unknowingly helping me to pick and give me the songs so I can do the choosing and ranking!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Culture the most perverted term

There are some men who are capable of making more sense while being drunk, than at other times. There is a friend of mine who would wax eloquence in flawless English while drunk, but when not drunk..hmmm..I guess I shouldn't tell about that standard in public, but your guess is right. Similarly recently I came across this video clip of Kamal Hassan's interview in youtube. His sarcastic explanation of the culture is hilarious and does have a deeper meaning. He speaks about his film and then explains how the Tamil culture is exploited. Generally speaking I think his explanation applies to any community which is overly insisting on culture.

To loosely translate some extracts from his recording , "Culture is an important thing because it keeps on changing every five years like the politicians. Hence its important to safe guards the culture. Fifty years back if a widow got married it was considered taboo, before hundred years they would have killed her, that's called as culture, so observe the change it goes through and it is supposed to be our duty to safe guard this! Then the English men came and introduced tops before that our people were top less, so now which one is the culture? We cannot go back to our old culture too. I am fully confused!"

you can view the whole video below,

In reality culture is a variable while  we blindly imagine it as a constant and waste all our energy to make it a constant! That's probably the most important piece of wisdom I found in this video.

For me this term culture is simply the most perverted term in the dictionary. Its an opportunistic tool which people embrace  when they want, try to force it on to others and most importantly they let it go when they don't need, but still expect others to live the culture!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Before you go to a country for the first time

If you are travelling to a country for the first time, make sure you do the following stuff a few days before,

1. Go to wiki travel , search and read about the country and the particular city -
- Make sure you read the stay safe section
It is very important to know the types of crimes and organized rackets they have in each big city.
- Food and Drinks section
Read the section in which you have the water drinking guidelines. Important to know this.
- Read the do's and don'ts section.

2. Google and find our whether they have an air port entry or exit fees and make sure you have that money in whatever currency they expect you to pay in. Eg; Kenya you need to pay 25 USD as visa fee on entry and in Indonesia you need to pay 150,000 rupiah when you exit the country as air port fee. So its better to find out this information before hand to avoid the painful process of finding the needed money in the currency of need at the air port.

3. If you do not have a place to stay use to find a suitable accommodation. I guess editor reviewed ones are reliable. You could expect it to match the review.

4. Find out the weather and the predictions for the week ahead.
Don't rely on the weather report of someone who had been there on a short visit, since countries do have seasons. Weather can at times spring big surprises on your purse.

5.   If you are in for a business meeting read about the business etiquette's relevant to the country in question.
Certain gestures are at times considered rude, certain topics should be avoided in certain counties etc. When walking you should know these to avoid embarrassment and humiliation.

6. Also find out well before the vaccinations you need to take, there are African countries for which you need to have taken yellow fever vaccination ten days before you travel in to the country.So get this sorted out well in advance.

7. Go to Google maps and search and see the directions from the air port to the hotel (at least that )

Have a safe journey and stay safe!

Monday, July 18, 2011

How to pass a BIT

There is this famous external degree program of which the name starts with B ends with T and has an I somewhere in the middle. It’s such a fun exercise, my friend and me used to go for the exams they conduct, at times just knowing the topic of the exam and nothing more. Most importantly we managed to get through the exam. It became a very simple exercise from the day we deciphered the 'art' of tackling MCQs with multiple answers.

It has exam papers which comes with the following guide lines,
• Each question will have five choices with one or more correct answers.
• All questions will carry equal marks.
• There will be a penalty for incorrect responses to discourage guessing.
• The mark given for a question will vary from 0 to +1 (All the correct choices are marked & no incorrect choices are marked)

Assume that you have the following question.
Question 1: Select the Asian country/ies from the given list?
a. Sri Lanka
b. Georgia
c. England
d. United States
e. France

Assuming that you are the only candidate in the exam hall hence no one else to copy from, you do not have access to google to find it out for you and you are not sure whether if Georgia is an Asian country or not, what will be your answer?
This is the way I would answer, use common sense and eliminate c,d and e. Then we are left with a and b. Now the analysis starts, out of which I know a is an Asian country, now
if I select only a,

  • If a and b are both correct I will get 0.5 marks
  • If a is the only correct answer, I will get 1 mark
  • So minimum I get is 0.5 and maximum I get is 1

On the other hand, If I select both a and b

  • If a and b both are correct I get 1 mark
  • If a is the only correct answer, I will get 0.75
  • So for this option the minimum is 0.75 and the maximum is 1

Now it doesn't take rocket science to figure out what is the best answer to maximize the return with a almost no risk!

This same technique can be extended to counter single answer questions and questions with 2 three 3 break, its just a question of elimination and it you don’t need to know the answer. But now I wonder what the purpose of passing exams like this?!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Job Survey

Dear All, Please help by filling out the listed questions below. I will be publishing the findings in the blog. Thank you in advance for your support.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Setting the right objective

People tell us to know the objective before we do things but at a supringly alarming rate a lot of us act without an objective or without setting the right objective.

Objective setting is a very subtle subject and moving the words a bit can easily turn the objective on the head. I am in to pre sales and I learnt this the hard way. I used to prepare material and make presentations to potential customers. The feedback I used to get was ok, but unfortunately positive feedback makes you blind and I was no different. But at the end of the day I lost the first two deals I worked on. My first reaction was to blame it on factors external which are beyond my control. But internally it was hurting, so I recorded the presentation and re-played it. I tried to imagine my self as a customer when listening to it. I was sure that I had manage to impress the customer why they needed a solution.

I was still searching, if everything was right why did we loose the deal, all of a sudden the eureka moment dawned, it was an error in the objective, I have told them why they needed a solution but I didn't tell, why they needed OUR solution. It was a lesson that I learnt by paying a great price. So now I try to drill in to my team mates to set their objective right before they do anything.

I hope this lesson will be useful to who ever reads this, hence thought of sharing.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Sanga's speech - Different angles

It's been a week since Sanga's speech but the euphoria it created has not died down and I don't expect it to die down soon either. I am sure this will be quoted over and over again by generations to come. There are enough experts who had dissected the speech and given their own two cents. My intention is not to give a competition to them, since I know for sure that its beyond my ability.

But what I cannot stop observing is how different people interpret this lecture as per their own preference. If you observed carefully international media like Economist, Guardian, Telegraph all went to town with the part in which he blasted the board and political interferences in cricket. Tamil media houses picked his description of 83 and his quote about him being an all in one package of a Tamil, Sinhalese and a multi religious type. National media picked the fact he called LTTE a terrorist organization and that the its the time of opportunity for the country.

Not only the media, but usual people too either picked what they liked or heard the bad parts loudly and ended up being hurt, Trinitians were over the moon, Rajans were a bit hurt by his comments, our dear minister was justifiably not impressed, jvp couldn't use it to demand an investigation since they themselves were casualties of his oratory. Tamil extremists were also hurt for the terrorist comment, government die hards thought that he let the country down. But most importantly in the mind of a peasant Sri Lankan cricket fan he immediately was given the crown jewels to be decorated as "King Kumar". Its so contrasting and for me the difference was striking!

This shows that even if you speak for hours, when you say something bad about a person or what they like, that part drowns the rest of the message. On the other hand, some others will always hear only the parts which they liked to hear and nothing else.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Value of Free things

Free is a very attractive word for a consumer. There was a time and I guess still, FREE is one of the the most attractive keywords in search engines. Getting something free is always good, but from a givers perspective "how FREE is valued by receivers'", is something I learnt the hard way.

When I was at the university, there was a need for a website to be developed for a certain organization which was too close to my heart. I offered them whatever little know how I had free of charge. So I went about developing, site was launched, it had mixed feedback. Some applauded it, while others were ruing about the site having a simplistic design, but all agreed that it was better than what we had before. Some of the commentators had a personal vendetta which I was not aware of at that time, apparently they had been on the verge of selling a solution and I had spoilt their income. Couple years down the line the site was removed without notice and handed over to a company, which managed put up the most embarrassing site I had ever seen in my life. I realized that the fault that I did was that I didn't take the payment, if I had done that they wouldn't have done this, deleting away the code didn't even give a tinge in the nerve since it was FREE and hence valueless to them. I guess its human psychology, when something is given free of charge, even if it is really good, we wouldn't mind throwing it away since no toil went in to getting it, hence no pain of losing it too.

In another broader example, look at the university system in Sri Lanka, I seriously doubt whether the students know the value of what they are getting FREE of charge. Looking at the rate at which they go on strike, vandalize the property, treat teachers with the worst forms of disrespect makes me conclude when given free they do not realize why and how much its value is. Imagine if we or parents had to pay for this education, but I do not think we realize it, since its free and its considered a birth right to get free education, they go to the extreme of picketing once they graduate to demand from the government that they need a job. All in the name of FREE.

Anyway in business FREE has a more tacit meaning. I learnt it from my boss, how to handle free. He advised me, even if you want to give something totally free make sure you communicate the value of it, give them the value as if they are a buyer for a few days and make them realize the toil they need to go through if not for you. Doing this will at least give some value to your 'freeness'. I wish the university students are also reminded regularly the cost for each person's education and probably I should have given them a quote with the value for my work.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Facebook taken over by another Generation

Facebook was earlier a tool where I had only a very close set of friends. Its main purpose was to have light hearted banter. That's the time I enjoyed it, any comment was put up, nothing was held back, there was no senior supervision and the youngsters were making merry. It was absolutely impossible for me to even visualize anything official about facebook and a statement made on facebook was something I would equal to a intoxicated drunkards blabbering.

Then slowly relatives, teachers and little known people all were added in but still at times the old habits took over and at times over the top banter continued, only to brought into the senses when you get a call with some concerned adult supervisor asking "whats that thing you had put up one facebook?" or a question like "is that guy N your friend, he sounds so bad!". Once bitten twice shy, but many times bitten either you are no more shy or you become muted, I took the second option.

Now I had become more an on looker and gaze with awe how a different generation has taken over facebook. Now they talk about decorum, making posts official, groups being official, defamation, etc. Being a early adopter of facebook its still hard for me to digest the fact that how the environment in facebook is transforming into and all the regulations being introduced by the late majority and the laggards and killing the very spirit of what kept me going in facebook. I hope no one gets me wrong on this, if you do, think I am sorry I cannot still help you!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


Seated alone on a mountain peak overseeing a valley on a moon lit night. Feeling the breeze, fighting off the chill, sniffing the scent of nature, immersed in contemplation, loosing the sense of time, eyes feel dim and cheeks feel the moisture. Living a blissful moment and wouldn't mind even being asked to meet the maker right away!

That didn't make any sense, I am dreaming and if for a moment you thought that a weed has grown in the heart. Sorry you got it wrong ;)

Monday, July 11, 2011

Cultures and Mobile Handsets

Each culture is different, something that works in one continent might not work in another, at times what works in one country might not work in the neighboring country. One such thing that has an association with culture and countries are the mobile hand sets. Out of the countries that I had traveled to I had seen different hand sets being considered fashionable in there, but totally out of sync with the other country/ies.

Indonesia - The blackberry paradise
It's a land of blackberry and apparently outside of North America its the biggest market for RIM. You would find all the youngsters carrying one. Playing to the gallery, the operators there have the blackberry services as a prepaid daily service, which means you can opt in for a day as an when you want. So youngsters when they have money opt in and enjoy it for a day! Chat and facebook on blackberry have cult like following there.

Singapore - The apple garden
If you get into any public transport and look around you would see more iPhones than the number of men travelling in it. Anyone who has another model might feel a bit inferior to pull out some other device and flaunt it. Its obviously one of the most up market cities of Asia and it does live upto the reputation of being techie and chic. People take it by choice as part of operator offered packages and it becomes part of the persons life style.

Africa - The Nokia's home
I was thinking the Nokia domination is gone and symbian OS was something that you would only see in museums until I stepped into Africa. Nokia is still number one in Africa and they are dominant in there. Most popular mobile OS in Africa is Symbian OS!

The biggest threat for them at the moment is actually from Android but funnily its not the Samsung which is threatening it The threat I was told was from a model known as Huawei Ideos, a $200 android phone which I have never heard about in Asia or APAC before or after my African visit.

Sri Lanka - No market leader?!
Do we Sri Lankan's agree on anything? So how can you have a dominant player in the mobile handset market? Nokia used to lead the market, but no longer I guess. Chinese phones, Nokia and an abundance of smart phone variety is the order of the day here!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Wash Room Sign Boards

When I travel around the wash room sign board at times manages to catch the attention either for their creativity or for the confusion they add. I wish I can take pictures of the sign boards, but it might be rude and might end up getting beaten up so I usually avoid it. Anyway this is the best I had scene upto now, specially taking the context into consideration.

This is the sign board at Nairobi national park. Quiet aptly they had chosen the lion and the lioness to symbolize the man and woman!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Bus Hypothesis - Feedback

The two posts that I made regarding the Bus hypothesis has attracted a mixed bag of feedback. One introvert screamed at me and said  - "Nonsense! There is a rule in Sri Lanka which says that you need to always get in to the bus from the back door, that's the reason I do that. Remember that you do not have enough experience travelling in Sri Lankan buses to derive such hypothesis"!  Wonder where this rule is written and whether having bus as the primary mode of transport through out my life doesn't qualify as "experience".

Another two confessed that they are indeed extreme introverts and extroverts respectively and the choice might have been due to how they had grown up. I had to explain to the introvert that there is nothing wrong in being an introvert or extrovert and I was just trying to test my hypothesis.

Another two on buzz announced that they are not convinced,

Harsha said,  "If it was a party or a social gathering instead of a bus I would have agreed with you. I can agree with the basic logic behind this, still not convinced."

Jason said, "I chose a door just for the convenience. on top of that you stated that both door are equally crowded, I chose the backdoor because its easy to get the ticket. I did not consider anything else. Not convinced." 

Out of all the feedback what I liked most was the comment from Harsha, "I like the observational and behavioral psychology aspect of the post and sense Malcolm Galdwell's influence". I take this as an absolute complement and I am indeed a self confessed fan of Malcolm Galdwell and my favorite past time is to recommend people to read his books.

All in all for a few I can clearly see that I have touched a sensitive nerve point and make them think twice about a decision they usually make with their subconscious mind. No hard feelings, Good Luck, Be Good and Keep Smiling!
The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference

Friday, July 8, 2011

Bus Hypothesis - Conclusion

In my last blog post I wrote about the question that I am asking people these days. The question I asked was,
Imagine that you are at a typical Sri Lankan bus stand and the bus that you are waiting for comes and stops right in front of you. The bus is positioned in such way that the front door and the back door are within equal distance from you. If you go by your natural instincts to which door will you head to?  ( assume that all the seats in bus are already taken and both doors are equally congested. )

By the answer given I can tell with a great level of confidence whether the person is an introvert or an extrovert.  Assume a scale of 0 - 100, where 0 means a full introvert and 100 means a full extrovert.

A almost ideal introvert would typically say - I will always get in from the back door, even when the back door is congested.

On the other extreme extrovert would say - I will always get in from the front door even when the front door is congested. One extrovert explained to me that he would always make sure he gets in from the front door and would always get down from the back door so that everyone in the bus gets to see him!

Then we have the fuzzy classification, this is to select people who fall into 30 to 70 percentile, that's the moderate introverts and the moderate extroverts. These people wouldn't give you a right answer on the first go, they would explain that they will consider the congestion, seats, girls etc. When you probe a bit more they would tell you one of the doors. If they pick the front door usually they are moderate extroverts and if they pick the back door they are usually moderate introverts.  Then there are very few who say that its totally random, this kind of people are what you call as "wire" cases! LOL

Did I get you right on this? How accurate was this analysis on you? Do let me know!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

The bus hypothesis

For some weird reason in recent times I had been asking a question from many people. I usually do not allow them to think too much since I want to know their natural reaction to this. So let me ask the question in the blog so based on your answers I will try improve on the hypothesis.

"The" Question
Imagine that you are at a typical Sri Lankan bus stand and the bus that you are waiting for comes and stops right in front of you. The bus is positioned in such way that the front door and the back door are within equal distance from you. If you go by your natural instincts to which door will you head to?  ( assume that all the seats in bus are already taken and both doors are equally congested. )

- Answer A- You will head to the front door majority of the time
- Answer B- You will head to the back door majority of the time
- Answer C- Its totally random

Based on the answer I think I can explain some characteristics of  the person! So give it a shot and help me improve the hypothesis. I will write the explanation in a subsequent blog.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Tamil Dialects

The other day I was travelling in a bus with a Sinhalese friend of mine. On the seats in front of us there was a Tamil girl who was speaking on her phone. Within hearing the first few words she spoke I told my friend that she was from the from the hill country pretending as a Jaffna Tamil on the call. "He asked do you know her?", I replied "No". He didn't buy in my answer and insisted I knew her and trying to cover it up, he demanded an explanation on how I was so sure. I tried to explain to him by saying that its the nature of Tamil language and we have different dialects with sharp differences. So at a blink you could say the person's region. He was asking me to explain the exact phrases which should be taken into consideration to differentiate.

So I tried to to explain by saying that you need to consider the pronunciation, the terminology used, the influence of other language words, etc When you consider all these factors and when considered in sync by an experienced Tamil language speaker he can distinguish it easily. But if you want me to explain how I differentiated this its impossible since I am not an expert in linguistics. He was not still accepting the story so I picked an example from the book blink, and explained to him why there is a unique profession called as tea testers, all of us can drink tea and tell whether if it tastes good or not, but it takes only an expert to explain why a certain tea is better than the other. He would consider different factors like the colour, smell, texture, etc and then make a rational judgement and will be in a position to explain the rationale behind his judgement.

So the beauty of Tamil language is when people without knowing the finer points of the dialect try to pretend it doesn't take rocket science to figure it out! And if you are a linguistic expert you can actually prove the fact with a perfect reasoning. I wish that girl makes a better attempt next time around so she gets it better than this, so she can at least fool a non-expert ! Good Luck!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Sanga the skilled orator!

Today morning I woke up, switched on the computer and searched for sanga's speech. While the download was happening I logged into facebook and one of my friends had posted the guardian's report on it. Reading the review I got a negative feeling of the speech, first few lines implied that he has done a speech instead of a lecture and I got the impression as if the author felt that he has picked the wrong occasion to raise the issue about the board. This made me even more curious.

It was Sanga - the orator at his best! He waxed eloquence in style. His mastery of the language, his skilled punches sugar quoted with some excellent sense of humor made it a very colourful exhibition of oratory! Any cricket lover would have loved to listen to his lecture and if you are a Sri Lankan cricket fan you can replace  your daily morning prayer tape with this! He managed to draw a vivid picture of the Sri Lankan Cricket and its history in the listeners minds. It was a very innocent, independent and impartial account of how he saw Sri Lankan cricket.

Incidentally by listening to this I ended up late to office and I was supposed to conduct a training session on presentation skills. Since I listened to the whole thing, including the post match discussion,  I lost more than one and a half hours of my preparation time for the training. And I was in a bit of fix thinking about what I should speak about, all of a sudden a bright idea dawned on me, why shouldn't I play this at the training session? So I picked the training area to be voice modulation and I played his speech from the 31st minute to the 41st minute. This was a piece studded with voice modulations any spoken English teacher will be proud to claim that as of her own student's. The joy and energy he exhibits to explain the build up to the world cup , winning it and then the switch in tone when he moves into the tsunami experience, where he manages to move the soul of the listener with his tone variation, voice modulation and perfectly timed pauses. Was an act of class which any performer would have loved to equal. Sanga made my day!

PS: I hope and pray that he and his family stays safe. Plus I hope that I wouldn't hear about a premature retirement from the game of cricket any time soon.

Listen to the full speech here.

Monday, July 4, 2011


I like the following two pictures that I took. After some time I noticed that pictures which has a symmetricity in them are appealing. I guess when you click a landscape with symmetricity the picture manages to capture the attention of the human mind, in flickr these two are some of the most clicked pictures of mine.

Both pictures were captured in Jaffna.

reflections in jaffna
Reflections in Jaffna

letting the sun go down
Jaffna Sun set

Sunday, July 3, 2011


When I was in year six I joined the Junior scout troop. Within a few months of joining we went camping at the picturesque pedro camp site. If I remember it correctly Neelaka, Riyazi and yours truly were the junior most members. When we were returning back from the camp the quarter masters, one of them was my brother Sabes anna, were reading out the 'honors' list of the camp, it included the naming of the best scout, best PL, most enthusiastic scout, most selfish scout, most laziest scout, etc... It was a very long list and names fell under multiple categories too. I cannot remember how many categories in which my name appeared but I can clearly remember being named as the most stubborn scout (an exclusive 'honor'). Funnily I didn't understand the word, I thought it was something good, so I came back home and asked someone for the exact meaning. Even when I was explained the meaning I didn't understand how it related to me.

Later on I understood the meaning of it, but in multiple instances I thought that stubbornness was the critical success factor which enabled me to touch some dizzy heights. I started to like to live with the identity of being stubborn. I was proud of living the tamil phrase "munn vaitha kalai pin vaikka mattaen", which when translated says "never step back".

Few days back I lost my cool with someone who is very close to me. It was a momentous out burst out of sheer madness and sounded very decisive in the matter at hand. Leaving the other person deeply hurt, specially knowing that my usual stubbornness wouldn't allow me to back track on the statements.

But this time around after going through a few epic failures and the resulting soul searching I knew the foolishness of the identity that I had embraced for long. Thankfully now self realization of the weakness has happened deep inside and I manage to identify when the weakness is playing havoc. In this instance a few minutes later I knew it was a moment of madness so I apologized, retracted the statements, leaving the other person totally surprised and shocked! Other person quipped "first time in a life time from you".

The trick I learnt the hard way is if you had kept a step in the wrong direction, as soon as you realize it, be willing to accept it and step back and correct the path to make the future brighter, instead of being stubborn. Ultimately in the death bed I cannot be proud of the fact that I was a stubborn man for the wrong causes. It took 20 years for me to realize this, but I am happy I did atleast now.

Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Less celebrated decisions in history

In recent weeks I had been reading a fair bit on politics and history. Two different speeches delivered in two different continents, in two different eras caught my attention. In usual parlance when looked raw from an emotional perspective they might have been called as treason to ones own community or nation, but when looked upon after years of the even, looks a land mark in the history of the human history.

In chronological order, the first event was the speech for the surrender of Japan by Emperor Hirohito to conclude the world war. In a land mark speech,

Moreover, the enemy has begun to employ a new and most cruel bomb, the power of which to do damage is, indeed, incalculable, taking the toll of many innocent lives. Should we continue to fight, not only would it result in an ultimate collapse and obliteration of the Japanese nation, but also it would lead to the total extinction of human civilization.

Such being the case, how are We to save the millions of Our subjects, or to atone Ourselves before the hallowed spirits of Our Imperial Ancestors? This is the reason why We have ordered the acceptance of the provisions of the Joint Declaration of the Powers.

On the outset it looked as if it was a great treason, as a huge deviation from the bravery exhibited by the forces who were at war, many officers opted for suicide over surrender, but looking back into the events as it standards today makes me wonder when the nuclear weapon was being used at will "Didn't that surrender save the human civilization?"

Second was the speech by FW De Klerk, the South African president before Madiba. Klerk apparently was from a conservative white family and at a crucial point of time in the history of South Africa played a major part in engineering the end of apartheid. In his land mark speech in parliament in 1990,

Our country and all its people have been embroiled in conflict, tension and violent struggle for decades. It is time for us to break out of the cycle of violence and break through the peace and reconciliation. The silent majority is yearning for this. The youth deserve it.

With the steps the Government has taken it has proven its good faith and the table is laid for sensible leaders to begin talking about a new dispensation, to reach an understanding by way of dialogue and discussion.

The agenda is open and the overall aims to which we are aspiring should be acceptable to all reasonable South Africans.

Among other things, those aims include a new, democratic constitution; universal franchise; no domination; equally before an independent judiciary; the protection of minorities as well as of individual rights; freedom of religion; a sound economy based on proven economic principles and private enterprise; dynamic programmes directed at better education, health services, housing and social conditions for all.

In this connection Mr Nelson Mandela could play an important part. The Government has noted that he has declared himself to be willing to make a constructive contribution to the peaceful political process in South Africa.

I wish to put it plainly that the Government has taken a firm decision to release Mr Mandela unconditionally. I am serious about bringing this matter to finality without delay. The Government will take a decision soon on the date of his release. Unfortunately, a further short passage of time is unavoidable.

Normally there is a certain passage of time between the decision to release and the actual release because of logistical and administrative requirements. In the case of Mr Mandela there are factors in the way of his immediate release, of which his personal circumstances and safety are not the least. He has not been an ordinary prisoner for quite some time. Because of that, his case requires particular circumspection.

Today's announcements, in particular, go to the heart of what Black leaders - also Mr Mandela - have been advancing over the years as their reason for having resorted to violence. The allegation has been that the Government did not wish to talk to them and that they were deprived of their right to normal political activity by the prohibition of their organisations.

read full transcript here 

It takes a lot of courage and self awareness to make a full circle and make momentous decisions like this, knowing that you would be seldom be celebrated for doing these acts! But most importantly as in Klerk own words when you look back from the nations stand point the positives from the decision out weights the negatives.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Birth of another tool to waste time

Above was my first post on Google+ and eventually I earned the wrath of a few of my friends. Being a fan of technology I am more than happy to experience any new product that comes out but now I do have a reservation for social networks as a concept and nothing particularly against google+ or facebook.

Looking at the product my initial impression is that Google+ seems to have laid down a platform where merry making will now happen at two different sites for the foreseeable future. The lines are not clear but by looking at the way things stand today the facebook and Google seems to have decided to have a major show down in this market segment! unlike the introduction of buzz or wave seems as of Google finally has a platform through which it will really step into this market.

Reading the initial comments being posted by friends I see mixed reviews, but a large segment of past facebook addicts seems to be gladly embracing Google+. Specially I see them enjoying the option to post to specific circles. I guess facebook has now grown to such level and you have too many people including parents, teachers, strangers, etc and posting to groups is not straight forward and people had become reluctant to make posts at will. So they see Google+ feature as a blessing. On the other hand I see another few who are severely critical about it and call it a facebook copy!

But for what worries me is whether this new took will also start eating my time. As I see it, social networks has many positives like enabling people to keep in contact, find long lost friends, getting to know the most happening things, establishing new relationships etc. But this comes at a cost and the main cost being our time. I know some people who are totally addicted to it and suffer from withdrawal symptoms when they are cut off from it or when they don't update their status. Just imagine they now being hooked to two different sites, god bless them and the companies they work for!