[ To Express, To Reflect, To Give Back ]

Power of Challenge

Monday, February 28th, 2005

Someone forwarded me this today, I think it deserves a read and a bit of contemplation. – S

The Japanese have always loved fresh fish. But the waters close to Japan have not held many fish for decades. So to feed the Japanese population, fishing boats got bigger and went farther than ever. The farther the fishermen went, the longer it took to bring in the fish. If the return trip took more than a few days, the fish were not fresh.

The Japanese did not like the taste. To solve this problem, fishing companies installed freezers on their boats. They would catch the fish and freeze them at sea. Freezers allowed the boats to go farther and stay longer. However, the Japanese could taste the difference between fresh and frozen and they did not like frozen fish. The frozen fish brought a lower price. So fishing companies installed fish tanks. They would catch the fish and stuff them in the tanks, fin to fin. After a little thrashing around, the fish stopped moving. They were tired and dull ! But alive.

Unfortunately, the Japanese could still taste the difference. Because the fish did not move for days, they lost their fresh-fish taste. The Japanese preferred the lively taste of fresh fish, not sluggish fish. So how did Japanese fishing companies solve this problem? How do they get fresh-tasting fish to Japan? If you were consulting the fish industry, what would you recommend?

As soon as you reach your goals, such as finding a wonderful mate, starting a successful company, paying off your debts or whatever, you might lose your passion. You don’t need to work so hard so you relax. You experience the same problem as lottery winners who waste their money, wealthy heirs who never grow up and bored homemakers who get addicted to prescription drugs.

Like the Japanese fish problem, the best solution is simple.

It was observed by L. Ron Hubbard in the early 1950’s. “Man thrives, oddly enough, only in the presence of a challenging environment.”- L. Ron Hubbard [obscure Scientology]

The Benefits of a Challenge:

The more intelligent, persistent and competent you are, the more you enjoy a good problem. If your challenges are the correct size, and if you are steadily conquering those challenges, you are happy. You think of your challenges and get energized. You are excited to try new solutions. You have fun. You are alive!

How Japanese Fish Stay Fresh???

To keep the fish tasting fresh, the Japanese fishing companies still put the fish in the tanks. But now they add a small shark to each tank. The shark eats a few fish, but most of the fish arrive in a very lively state.The fish are challenged.


Instead of avoiding challenges, jump into them. Beat the heck out of them. Enjoy the game. If your challenges are too large or too numerous, do not give up. Failing makes you tired. Instead, reorganize. Find more determination, more knowledge, more help. If you have met your goals, set some bigger goals. Once you meet your personal or family needs, move onto goals for your group, the society, even mankind. Don’t create success and lie in it. You have resources, skills and abilities to make a difference.”

So, put a shark in your tank and see how far you can really go!

Lectures in Chennai

Thursday, February 24th, 2005

Sathya has a good collection of all the transcripts(or his summary where one is not available) from the various lectures he attends in Chennai. For those who would miss them by being away from chennai, Sathya is doing a great favor. Very thoughtful of him to include the contact information related to the speeches.

Who is Peggy Noonan?

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2005

[via ScriptingNews] I had no clue until her name and her recent essay on blogs “The Blogs Must Be Crazy“, in comparison to MSM (main-stream media), is being touted all over the blogosphere. ScriptingNews’ Dave Winer [a widely read blogger] reckons that we should “savor every word” of Noonan’s writeup. I did. And found some interesting observations.

“In the old days a lot of interesting information fell off the editing desk in this way. Now it doesn’t. This is a public service.” – Absolutely. You name anything. There is a blog out there. If you find there is none, it’s a blessing. Go start one!

I applaud her intellectual commerce perspective. She says That you get [Blogs] free doesn’t mean commerce isn’t involved, for it is. It is intellectual commerce. Bloggers give you information and point of view. In return you give them your attention and intellectual energy. They gain influence by drawing your eyes; you gain information by lending your eyes. They become well-known and influential; you become entertained or informed. They get something from it and so do you. Sounds simple isnt it? Well, thats prophecy for you!.

While on the topic I should mention about the Tom Reynolds and his blog, “Random Acts of Reality“. He blogs from somewhere in london about the nuances of being a emergency ambulance serviceman. His writings must have made sense for he is already invited by BBC Radio for interviews and to share thoughts on why/how blogs affect MSM. You might wonder if London Ambulance Service doesnt care about Tom writing about the wrong things in L.A.S between the lines; If only Tom was Tom at work. He writes anonymously!

“The Gates” at Central park

Wednesday, February 16th, 2005

A project concieved long time ago ( 1979 ) came to reality this past weekend in Central Park, Manhattan. “The Gates”, an art of its own kind was unveiled around the 23 mile stretch of central parks inner roads. While it is tough for me to understand what the creators, Artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude were trying to say with this “Art”, It does look like they have an incredible background with such art and this latest one is quite well received and appreciated. Newyork metro quotes that ‘The Gates’ is financed entirely by its creators with not a penny of grants, city money, or donations, and is budgeted at $20 million. Not only that, they have designed so everything can be recycled 100%. The words “Passion without Boundaries” come to my mind.

[AP, via CNN]

Some more classic pictures and intriguing background info on the Christos at Slate.com and in case you were wondering, just as I was, this looks behind the scenes.

Of course, there will always be some critique.

Check this out

Tuesday, February 15th, 2005

[via kribs] This blog by an intern at the US consulate in chennai is an interesting read. This specific blog about the first bio-visa day ( when they started finger printing visa applicants ) is funny because of the way he has written the official names of the stars: rakkia gounder sivakumar surya alias our actor Surya!

I loved the lungi walk and americanized India among the good photos.

Lined up my old PC for a donation

Friday, February 11th, 2005

At last, I lined up my old Compaq presario 6600 for donation through Cristina Foundation. They have a simple website that lets you submit a request with the details of your computer. They say they will arrage for a pick up or a local drop off. That I would have to see how it works out.

If you are so emotionally attached to your (dead) PC that you cant give/throw it away, someone has compiled a sensible list of things you can do with an Old PC.

Roaming the web

Wednesday, February 9th, 2005

I subscribe and read Business2.0 but FastCompany is an equally good magazine for the tech industry. I browse the FastCompany blogs once in a while and ended up in this good write up which I think every avid reader must read. Written by Slacker Manager after being inspired by the book, Tim Sanders’ “Love Is The Killer App” the write-up has some god suggestions on how to read books, especially those from which you want to learn something.

A great tip is 800CEOREAD Recommendations which I have never heard of before but apparently is well known in the voracious reader circles.

The best tip of all is the “Request a library book” browser hack (not technically) by John Udell that lets me request a book from my local library in a click. I dont want to get started talking about the local bridgewater library, but every time I go there, it’s hard to step out. If you can read Tamil, read this blog post by PKS who has put it lot better than I could about the feelings of stepping into a bookstore and returning emptyhanded. So if you are in the US and know how to appreciate the wealth of knowledge in the local libraries and want to easily tap into it whenever you want to, Check out Jon Udell: LibraryLookup. Thanks to blogs, I wouldnt have come across this cool thing.

Curse of Spammers

Tuesday, February 8th, 2005

I am getting 500 comments a day. I wish I could be proud of it. Damn it. I am sick of it. Sick of deleting texas hold’em poker comments everyday. I will shoot this b’s (up their a’s) who stay up all night write this spammers.

From Today, I am unceremoniously discontinuing the feature to add comments. Those who post comments know me already so feel free to drop an email if you felt like appreciating me.

Think about this

Friday, February 4th, 2005

Shai Agassi is probably one of the youngest to be in top executive positions in the IT industry today. I couldnt find his exact age but from various references I am guessing he is 37. He is an executive board member at SAP.

I was reading a bit about this guy and landed up in this interview in an Indian magazine. Because of a strange syndrome I have, I generally spend a few minutes at the top of the page and automatically run down the end for no reason! (Without the syndrome, halfway into this, I would have jumped to reading something else!) Here I found the following answer to a seemingly regular question:

An example here would be a small company in Europe, in the consumer electronics industry, working on a reverse process on how they build a product. Instead of working on what the customers want to buy, then aggregating their designs, procuring and supplying that…, they went to their suppliers first and asked them: “What do you have that’s cheap today?” and took all the items that were cheap… and ran them through a workflow, planning and optimisation engine, and created a virtual product. They put the virtual product on a virtual auction and went to their distributors. Whatever (product) the distributors bought, they built… (it). And took away all the other components off the auction floor. With this approach they just used their existing engine. It’s not that they invented any new engine or new components. They just composed it in a new way. And took 20% of the market share with 1% of the employees of the market leader.

I dont know who he is talking about, but the idea itself felt like a big blow to my conventional approach to business and making money in that process. Think about it.


Wednesday, February 2nd, 2005

I read this quote somewhere: Pessimist is a person who looks both ways when crossing a one-way street.

I wonder if a lot of fellow-Indians like me, crossing one-way streets in US should be classified as Pessimists.

The first thing a parent teaches a grown-up kid in India is ‘Listen! Look both ways before crossing”. If we have already crossed a part of the road without following that protocol then we should be ready to experience a mini-tremor at the epicenter of our brain resulting from the strong and sudden blow at the back of our head (from who else but our beloved mom!).

After half a dozen blows and a million other protocol-based cross-cut-road crossings, here I am, crossing the extremely obvious 4 lane one-way 3rd Avenue in Manhattan, following the exact same protocol that was reinforced in me years ago. I can very much see cars/buses going only one-way in all four lanes. Then lights turn red and road becomes literally empty. Then I begin to cross, I turn both ways making sure everything is OK. Two steps into it, I realize its one-way so I tell myself to spend more time watching out just one direction only and walk. Half-way into crossing the Avenue, some disgruntled cabbie honks and I am terrified and turn my head both ways continuously…. Nothing really happens! Everything is as peaceful as it can be in Manhattan inspite of all the honks. I stroke my heart to bring it back to normal and cross the street repeating my head’s 180 degree rotation every four steps.

All is well ends well I am on the other side of the road. An American buddy who is waiting for me on the other side notices that I was disturbed and asks me “Why did you do that?”

I go “Why did I do what?”

He asks “Why did you cross the street like that?”

I am puzzeled “What? I thought I was extremely careful?”

He yells “Well, you dont have to. Why do you think we have pedestrian crossings?”.

I muffle my stupid grin and say “Oh! you know…you know…We are used to that!”.

We started walking and I knew he had no clue what I meant. Right or wrong, He must have taken that simple word ‘We’ to mean “1 billion Indians”.