Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Is Indian lean less effective than the Japanese lean ?

Just like the top-down lean approach propounded by Toyota and other successful Japanese companies are getting propagated, a new form of bottom-up lean approach is coming out of India, especially in the telecom sector. 

Following Reliance Jio 4G which disrupted the ecosystem initially with its free voice calling offer, has now four followers ready to offer free national calling and charging roughly two dollars for 28 day limited Internet. 

3 more Indian telecom service providers Reliance Communications, Aircel and BSNL besides Vodafone for youngsters below age 30 in Goa state are in the fray now offering free no frills attached voice calls within the country ..

Why and how is it that India's quality low-cost innovation initiatives are giving a run for money for the costly western, Chinese and Japanese initiatives in the area ?

Finally in the long run, globally someone has to fail and someone has to sustain and survive. Who will survive in the long run, Japanese or Indian lean service providers ?

The coming days will give an indication ..  the developments are being very closely watched from around the world.  👍👌

Can Reliance Jio, the first disruptor in the system, survive the heavy competition in the Indian market initially, with already 52 million mobile connections of a total of 1050 million plus (app 5%) and survive or be washed out ?


Genographic project - National geographic

It was not much earlier that I was going thru a report from the National Geographic Society and their Human genographic project , to analyse the diversity of the human genome. To trace the origins of human migration, or a common trace of evidence from genes collected all over the world.

The pattern of human migration that happened
The study points to the fact that humans first migrated from the eastern coast of Africa about 60,000 years ago. From the Ethiopian coast, humans migrated to diff parts of the world. And being the parent civlization of the human race, we can expect their civilization to be the superior one of all the other ones..

History and science is providing evidence to establish their superiority, the fertile lands around the river Nile, the Egyptian civilization, Coptic Church, Pharoahs, the pyramids what not.. ??


Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Chennai and the pharaohs of Egypt..

Pharoah Tutankhamun's tomb and his mummified body, 1352 BC
 Jayalalitha's funeral had a crowd of  6 lakhs at Marina beach, Chennai last evening.

Imagine what crowd would have gathered at the pyramid site on the banks of river Nile, Egypt in which the 18 year old boy King, Pharaoh Tutankhamen of the 18 th dynasty was buried in 1352 AD to live through history !!.

The 3350 year old mummified body (face illustrated) as found by Howard Cater in 1922 in Egyptian Nile banks  was covered by the pure golden mask as shown here ...

Monday, December 05, 2016

Can Uty be held responsible if a student performs badly or scores less in a subject ?

Oxford uty has been sued by an Indian origin student Faiz Siddiqui for £1 million for negligent, boring teaching at Oxford U in the subject of Indian imperial history for which he got low score which prevented him from getting a good career as an international lawyer.

Henceforth Universities will be held responsible for deficient teaching by their faculty members. 

Aerial view of the oldest,  800 year old Oxford University ..
We were under the impression that the teaching learning process is one where each side has equal responsibility in ensuring the success of the process. 

This case has brough another point to the fore, how well a Professor is able to induce students' interest in the subject by his vast reading and knowledge, quoting the right cases, situations, anecdotes etc which may not be assessed well in the existing system and hence is not given enough imprortance. Universities have to be careful as to which faculty teaches each subject and his/ her proficiency in that subject.

The other ethical question in the issue is whether the University can be held accountable for the professional behavious of its faculty as demanded by the student community. Should student's professional success be directly related to the faculty's excellence in the area and be linked to his compensation package in general ?

A debate in this topic needs to be initiated by involving both the staff and student communities too,.


Oppo and Vivo surge ahead. Supply chain challenges!!

How Oppo and Vivo after giving shock to Apple  iPhone and Xiaomi, are capturing the Chinese smartphone market by these  simple steps -

1. offer good commissions to the retailer,
2. indulge in massive publicity,
3. reach the rural markets where Internet access is limited and
4. eschew e-commerce, go for physical commerce.

This case was discussed in the MBA class in Alliance University Bangalore this morning. Students came up with very interesting points. The phenomenal growth of Oppo and Vivo from 3Q of 2015 has seen their share in China surging to 14 to 15 % each, while iphone sales have dropped by 50 % , from 14% to 7% market share. Whya nd how did this happen ? Apple is naturally interested in finding the reasons for this fall of favour of Apple products in China.

Looking at some basic economics, we find that the per capita GDP of China is almost double at $12,000 compared to India's $5700. The population in China thus has a better buying power compared to Indian population. Oppo and Vivo not being so heavily priced as iphone at about 60% of the costs and same or better technical features, adds to its popularity among the Chinese youth. Another point we observe in the Oppo and Vivo case is that technology is no longer the winner in the smartphone arena, it is JUST a qualifier. Technology in terms of technology 3G or 4G, RAM, ROM, no of cores in the processor, size and high definition screen etc is a given for all phones, the differentiating factor is, for the younger population, the high resolution camera or longer battery life. Oppo banks on its high resolution batteries and Vivo on its long battery life.

The cost-to-performance ratio of these high end phones has been crashing over the past many months.

An interesting point worth noting here and which has baffled many e-commerce specialists is how does Oppo and Vivo shun new electronic markets, resort to old time tested physical channels and still have satified customers ? This observation gives credence to the point that the society is either not advanced enough to take the best benefits of e-commerce or it is a mix of modern electronic commerce and old physical commerce that is going to be successful in the long run. Some points being highlighted here are,
       1. even though technology can be spread fast enough in the community, the level of acceptance does not happen so fast, with the result the performance is always sub-optimal.
       2. comfort and ease of shopping are not the only factor that influences people drive to electronic commerce
       3. the fear of financial security being compromised in case of an unfriendly hack is a cause of concern
       4. the frequent performance outages in the system is diminishing the industry confidence in the system
       5. the entry of a modern system that can ensure confidentiality, ease of use, security and simplicity can topple the system very badly.

Even though the above points are helping Vivo and Oppo to survive in the Chinese markets though not to a great extent, its success in the Indian market is very much doubtful, as Indian customers are always judging products, high technology or not on the basis of technology and costs, almost with equal weightages.

In the coming days the success or otherwise of Opo and Vivo in China is going to sculpt many changes in the high technology work of mobile phones in other countries too.

In my vast interactions with students i have seen only one student with the new Oppo phone, though advertisements in newspapers galore these days.

Does success in China, world's #1 economy also guarantee success in India, the world's # 3 economy. It is very difficult to say at this stage.


Friday, December 02, 2016

Team Indus and Google LUNAR X Prize ..

Here is the story of a global challenge which is not going to take you places on earth, but deep on lunar surface..

This is about an Indian entry at the Google Lunar X prize announced in 2007 but getting materialised only by end 2017 with finally 5 teams.

Click here for the excellent livemint piece on Team Indus..

IIT Delhi would be proud of its alumnus
This is the story of Bangalore based startup and Delhi HQ Axiom Research' TEAM INDUS, vying with the other 2 US competitors Moon Express and Synergy Moon, Israeli competitor Space IL and German competitor PT Scientists, in launching the lunar rover for the $30 million Google Lunar X Prize.

Here is the team .. (credit livemint..)

 The first three have already secured contracts with SpaceX to use their Falcon 9 rockets (still not airborne and airworthy after the latest blast at Cape Canaveral, Florida six months back). The Indian team "Team Indus" have secured a contract with ISRO, to compete for the prestigious Google LUNAR X Prize of $30 million before Dec 31, 2017.

The conditions for Google Lunar X Prize require that the  lunar rover travel minimum 500 metres on lunar surface and be capable of sending high resolution video and images of lunar surface back to earth.

Rahul Narayan , IIT Delhi (l), Ramnath Babu (structures) and Sheelika Ravishankar (people), 
Team Indus is banking on the expertise of ISRO for the space vehicle to take the rover to lunar surface. A deal was signed this week, to take the rover to lunar surface aboard PSLV - XL on 28 December 2017.

The challenge is that even ISRO has only reached lunar atmosphere and crash landed Chandrayaan I, but never landed a rover on lunar surface. This is also a great challenge and learning for ISRO as it plans to send a human expedition to moon by 2025 or earlier.China has officially landed a rover after US on lunar surface, but surprisingly we find no teams from China in this global competition.

For Team Indus (Axiom Research) CEO, Rahul Narayan, this is a great step forward for their company as they have other great plans to break even. This experience and learning is definitely an out of the world one.

Besides catalysing indigenous efforts to conquer outer space, the success of Axiom Research "Team Indus" will also ignite private research efforts in space and be a great motivator for young brilliant Indian minds to think big and plan even privately funded inter planetary missions in the future.

Guys, our best wishes and Good luck !

A big thanks to senior retired ISRO scientists who are helping Team Indus to carve a name for itself in space Technology ..

After SpaceX disaster few months back, it is highly unlikely SpaceX Falcon 9 would be able to get back to space in the next six months or even in the next one year. It is also likely that Team Indus may be the sole competitor for the Google Lunar X prize aboard PSLV. Eventhough contracts have been signed by SpaceX with the 2 US teams and 1 Israeli team, their trips are highly unlikely, even though India would want all competitors to be able to get to lunar surface. ISRO can think of carrying the payloads of the other competitors, since SpaceX is not a reliable operator.

Ratan Tata, Bansal brothers, L&T, Sasken, ISRO have al contributed in no small terms to the success of these youngsters..

The great advantage this offers to world science is that private players are also carving a place for themselves in space missions, organisations like SpaceX get to prove their mettle. Starting with lunar surface, then Mars and so on, real estate is spreading like hot fire not confined to earth alone, but other satellites and planets too. This is also a boost to scientific research in outer space.

Pl login to the official website for exciting updates of the different teams ..
This is not just rocket science, it is much more.. Get the managerial lessons ..


When a nation botches on currency reform plan ..

This info can dent badly GoI's good intent, Nov 2016 issue
By far, the most authentic and frank account of the botched currency reform plan in India from the most respectable and more than 150 year old economic publication from London. 

If PM was correctly informed by his advisors that only 2% of transactions in the country happen by non-cash means, and the unkind, cruel experience of other countries whose similar currency reform plans also got botched up, it would have saved PM and the govt its face. 

The PM would have acquired the required actions after multiple rounds of interactions with experts and later embarked on  effective and fool proof execution strategies than try something utopian overnight..

All the more reason for him to seek advice of experts than hollow, ideological  partners !

When a nation botches up, it is not just the ruling party that gets ridiculed, the nation as a whole gets scoffed and derided .. ☹


Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Are we equally complicit as our politicians in generating black money in the country ?

Before we give our opinion for or against demonetization (delegalization of currency) in the country, can we keep our right palm on our left chest over the heart and without any prick of conscience, boldly state that we have not been involved in any way in creating or transacting black money in the country (money on which tax has not been paid to the country) ?? (This is a question to our dumb politicians too, from all major political parties, who have played with black money heavily and brought so much discredit for the country ..)
This could have been at some point in our life while seeking a favour, bribing someone, buying gold or selling and buying land and buildings, high end automobiles or stashing in foreign bank accounts. We do these and go about in society as pious, respectable citizens, followers of that famous father of the nation, Gandhiji !! 

These avenues account for 94% of black money generated in the country which is not yet targeted and conveniently pushed aside !

Let us first clear our conscience and try to be sincere to ourselves. If we are guilty of wrong doing, do we have the right to comment or point fingers at others on this matter ?
Let the person who is blemish-free, cast the first stone ! 🙏🙏

I had a discussion with my 93 year old father this evening regarding this delegalization drive in the Indian economy. He may not be a great economist like Amartya Sen, Kaushik Basu, former PM Manmohan Singh, Jean Dreze etc who are opposing the delegalization of currency notes. My father who graduated from Sacred Heart College Thevara, Kochi, Kerala, 70 years back in 1946 in Commerce feels that this is the right time for all well-meaning Indians to support the PM in the currency delegalization move, by taking small pains and sacrifices for the sake of the nation.
The country is behind the PM is exposing black money. Even the PM cannot say that he has not stood by people who have generated black money in the  country at some point in time. He is very much guilty as are all the other black money hoarders in the country.

The problem is that our PM is very divisive, abrasive in his behaviour and discourteous in communications with other politicians. He wants to make it feel that he finally did the things himself.. He does not believe in empowering others, there  were many opportunities in the past few weeks to take the whole country with him in this great cleasing move. But bad leadership spoiled the move..

Many people doubt the ability of the PM to take the whole country together in its drive against black money and black money hoarders. He is unable to convince the countrymen that he is not hands-in-glove with the criminal elements in our society. 

By his repeated efforts to stay away from the Parliament, the temple of Indian democracy and unwillingness to take part in any discussion regarding the delegalization drive with the representatives of the people, he is either staying away out of fear of being exposed as he may have engaged in black money operations many times in the past or he does not care and is showing utter contempt for democracy and democratic institutions.

This is not expected of a PM who is moderately educated and knows how the Indian and global economy works .. Unless he takes the opposition also with him and leads the country from front in this war against black money in the country, his efforts are not likely to bear fruits.

Great Leadership finally is the question .. not everybody has it ..

Demonetization impact minimal ..

A contented lady vendor who admits a 30% drop in her daily sales because of delegalization of Indian Rs 500 and 1000 currency notes, looks for better times in the NS Palya area in South Bangalore .

Photo courtesy George Easaw.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Fidel Castro is dead at 90 ..

Fidel Castro (1926-2016)
Longest serving dictator of Cuba for 49 years.. 

A great family man who on demitting office in 2008 after ruling Cuba, a land of 12 million with an area of 110,000 sq. kms for 49 gears, gave absolute power to his brother Raul Castro, now 85 years of age.  

Eventhough Cuba had about 99.6% literacy, and produced many medical doctors for the rest of the world, Cubans were denied personal liberty for 49 years under Communist rule in Cuba. Literature talks of great violence he resorted to earlier in life to consolidate his dictatorship. 

Castro's terrible legacy from the Washington Post

Will he be trashed to the dustbin of history or handled lightly by posterity for the good that he has done to Cuba more than the damage ? Have to wait and see..
One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution, one makes a revolution in order to establish a dictatorship - George Orwell