About Me

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Music Yogi!

Here's one to the entrepreneurial spirit within all of us (if it does exist within all).
Aadarsh Hariharan is a friend of mine from the good ole engineering days. Peeing in neighbouring comodes back in college, I remember him asking me during placement season - "Suri, how the f*** do I get better in quant man! All these companies want quant and I need some more practice in it I think". Though the content has not been put up here verbatim (fearing copyright violations and other potential physical abuse I might face from Aadi), I do remember that this was the gist of what he wanted to know. And I gave him the usual crap about quant books to refer to, areas to be covered and blah blah!
Here's what I would say and want Aadi to say now - F*** quant! It doesn't matter one inch. If you're out there to get something real bad, you're going to get it by all damn means. If you find yourself lacking in something you really will work towards improving in that area and getting yourself ahead right there, right then. Passion drives the world. Gaining knowledge and finding knowledgeable people, though equally important would be the next thing to do. And your attitude is the third thing to take care of.
Aadi quit his job in the Gulf region (he's mallu :), so gelf is his home town, Kerala is his adopted place) and came back to Bangalore with a smile pile of cash. Over a period of a year Aadi has invested all his earnings and more i.e. his friend's earnings and their combined appreciation of music, to start off his own company - MusicYogi.com.
The duo now depend purely on mouth-of-word publicity in getting some visibility and hits on their site. It is of course being run for profits, but clearly with a co-objective of helping out the upcoming bands within the country. Do check out their site for other info and order some cds, dvds, tapes when at it.
The idea in posting this one, was to contribute my 2$ 3cents in making www. musicyogi.com successful, and more importantly to ensure that I pick up some preferential stock a few years later, cash in on them in the next dot com boom and retire early with all and sundry in Malibu.
So here's hoping that Aadi and friend rake in the moolah and make one and all happy. Here's to you Aadi!

Addendum: The spirit of wanting to be one's own boss, of wanting to lead your own life and have that sense of ownership is a tremendous one. How many of us have honestly wished that one day we'd start something off on our own but haven't had the guts to quit the current job? Understandably obligations do step into the picture - of both a personal and professional kind. But only those who dare to put their neck on the guillotine and walk the talk, will have a chance to be successful on their own terms.
I'm really proud of pals from college like Sandy and Co. ( www.indigoedge.com ) and Satya who were willing to take the risks. Hats to all of you and I hope more of us follow suit.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

It's Operations Dr. Zhivago!

When I started off with work here, I didn't think I'd find operations interesting. That was about half of my area of work, maybe a little more. The other component would be IT related. Ops wasn't really a fascinating subject for me even back in college. Just about took one elective, coz the seniors told me it'll help in u're sales and marketing career.
Emotions gave way to rationale and I picked up, what I think now, is a great job. Now at work I figure out that I find ops a lot more fascinating than what I thought it would be. Goldratt takes a good amount of credit for that. For once, I didn't start off learning the nuances of ops the conventional way. Most of my current learning is from this one book The Goal. It was one of those books that I would never ever have touched with a ten foot pole, but have now read due to the need of the job. And I did enjoy every darn moment of it. An awesome concept which kicks miles and miles of balance sheets and profit and loss statements right in their guts.
His key philosophies are the Theory of Constraints, Thinking Processes and Critical Chain Project Management. Most of them have been used widely in some geographies and industries with great success.
Refer to www.goldratt.com to figure out more about the man or his theories. The concept that I find most endearing (though I find the others equally practical, rationale and lucid) is CCPM - Critical Chain Project Management. Below, I'll make an attempt at explaining the same through a suitable example:
Let's say I'm making an attempt at copying in an exam.
My guess is that these are the following steps I have to go through -
1. Identify the target that I want to copy from. This would limit it to mostly 4, the guy to my left, right, in front of me and the nerd behind.
2. Ensure that the invigilator is not watching me. This is outside my control.
3. Peep into the paper of one of the targets and read sufficient volumes of the written script before condition (3) gets violated
4. Make a note of all that I could read, with sufficient improvements in terms of use of language and bringing in originality
5. Repeat the sequence
After I have repeated the sequence a sufficient number of times, I would have to stop at step 4 ideally, unless of course the invigilator's favorite number is 2. Each step above would take a certain amount of time (Step 1 - 4). I would in my planning process allocate a certain amount of time to each of the steps. This allocated time would be greater than what might be really needed, i.e. I would be buffering each of my steps sufficiently, just to be on the safe side.
In CCPM, the idea is to take away the buffers (or safety) from each of the step, aggregate it and place it at one single point. Typically this would be placed at the end of the longest sequence of tasks. (In a typical project scenario, there would be many such 'sequences of tasks' and the longest would be critical chain. For simplicity I have chosen a one sequence project).
Now due to the separation of the buffer from each task individually, the amount of time to finish a task would reflect a more aggressive but probable measure. It's like the fixed component of the task, whereas the buffer snatched away from each individual task would be the variable component.
Due to the mathematical properties of aggregating, the aggregated buffer would be a lot lesser than the sum of the buffers maintained for the individual tasks. Hence, while still retaining the safety net, I would be able to enrich myself in the art of copying in a shorter time. Neat!!!!!!? :)
Here's another advantage - If I take up a part time job for a small slot of time during those 3 hours, like ogling at the hot 'resource' in front, I would be eating into my aggregated buffer.
But now I'd have to only measure one parameter (the aggregated or project buffer) to find out how I'm placed in my attempt to get through the exam. There!
OK, what I've given here is a very common example - a project executed by many students across the world on a quarterly, semi-annually and annual basis. In the industrial world, there would be projects involving hundreds of task sequences, individual resources, office politics and the likes.
Here's a good blog about all of Goldratt's philosophies - www.focusedperformance.com

Well let me see how far into these management philosophies I would be able to go!
More later!