Thursday, March 03, 2016


Sunday, February 28, 2016

Manila experience

It was a great trip to this Asian city of Manila (Philippines)

Great realization is the Taipe airport, they got so many connections across the globe, lot more than what our Indian cities have got. Being a small island nation, I thought this airport won't be that big, but it has got really good connectivity. Even the connecting flight to Manila,I thought it will be a smaller one with less capacity but it was full blown Boeing 747 400 with huge capacity. China airline runs flights twice a day to Manila.  Big crowd travelling all the time.

Another interesting thing about Taiwan is about its identity itself. It looks like it is an independent country but China thinks it is part of mainland china. It needs some deeper understanding on the political conflicts.  Taiwan (Also known as ROC - Republic Of China) and China (People Republic of China/mainland china) terms are interesting for people with interest in geography and contemporary political history.

Some interesting facts about Taiwan:
Capital city: Taipe
Currency    : New Taiwan Dollar (NT$)
Follows multiparty democracy system (unlike mainland china)

For an ordinary indian, it(Taiwan) looks like Srilanka of India for China.

Back to Manila, the moment I landed in Manila, first thing I did was to take a SIM card with data plan (I was told for 7 days of data $500 pack will do with 800MB of data), so I paid $12 at the counter and took "SMART" company SIM card.

Was expecting cab driver to be waiting for me, moved in the pick up area for some time and few people tried to help me, looked at the emails and called the driver number and he arrived to pick up location after 5 minutes.  It was around 30 to 40 min drive to "One Pacific Place" service apartments in Makati from the international arrivals at Airport.

Took some break and after 1.5 hours, wanted to have lunch in an Indian restaurant (Queens Taj Mahal on Jupiter St.  Ordered Chicken Biryani, but the food I got seemed some kichdi with few chicken pieces. Completed the lunch ritual.

Wanted to go to Intramuros for historical walk in the Manila city, was trying to grab a Uber, but the waiter at the restaurant suggested to pick any taxi as it is sunday and it is normal rate only. She helped by waving at a taxi which promptly stopped and the deal was to drop me at Intramuros, but I eventually landed up hiring him for quick visit across multiple places (all for quick photo ops :-) ).  Agreed for $40 for the entire trip for 3 to 4 hours.  The driver (Rolendo) was really proficient in english and as per him, most of the people speak good english in Metro Manila (Internet said the same as per my research).

 The pictures are attached below.

It's really cool to travel and do few things that reflect thoughts about future with a book "The Age of Aspiration" a book that reflects Indian story from 1991 May 21 events (RBI selling gold and Rajiv gandhi's assassination till date with major focus on Modi and North Indian companies growth. I say this because I see no reference of south India. The other thing that impressed me is the movie on Steve jobs. 

Only the winners and leaders are remembered and who are just first in something are going into the history. Repeated success can make you rich and can make you contemporary limelight but I seriously don't think they make it into history.

My little brain thinks about the future and I think it lies in Asia and USA and Europe are done with their role.

The little countries like Japan and Korea made damn big advancements and China is the factory of everything while India is manufacturing the brains of the world. Combined together Asia makes the future and it is going to be different future in which we will not have a single leader but like EU probably we need a bigger group for Asia and we need to disperately invent something that is damn cool and super necessary for the world. I am sure we are working on alternate energy and something new for every man can use.

Some how this trip to Manila is exciting to me for some reason and some how i feel it is just the right thing to do

Thursday, February 04, 2016


Its new client this February with new domain (SDN - Software Defined Networks)  through Innominds.

First thing I like with Infinera is the bus route. VTA 26 goes straight without any deviations (unlike 55) and takes around 15 min of journey on bus from fair oaks to java drive, that is really cool.

Other real cool thing for me with this bus is, it actually gets filled unlike the 55 which often looks like my  private charter bus.

Infinera, for me looks like mini cisco, they got all kinds of devices for networking and are getting ready for all kinds of high speed networks for the future. Looks interesting (and bit alien for me because of the fact that I come from applications domain).

The first 2 days of training by Ron Litchy on agile was very good. I really enjoyed to an extent that I went ahead and created a website ( taking cue from the training. Agile/Scrum is something most often talked about (well, as kashyap says on his FB shared article about recruiting in HR sector, every executive thinks he is doing good business while trying to still figure how how to do business, anecdote he compared was teenage sex, everyone thinks everyother person doing it and so they pretend they are doing it as well while no one really know how to do it :-) ).

For me agile is also looks something similar.  Even for people who are practising it for years, there are so many questions on "how to do it". For me agile is something that keeps the best come out of everybody, no more lazy managers (project managers or product managers) while keeping developers busy all the time.  On the other side, it makes sure we have better work life balance all the time as we always plan things well and more often.

So it is going to be interesting domain for me. I am still waiting for the Philippines decision though.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Rohit and Rekha

The movement and the reactive response I see for Rohit is missing the core point of living people facing problems and how do we resolve it? When compared to Rohit issue, I was more saddened by the self immolation of +2 girl Rekha in Nalgonda district, she kept asking her father for building toilet but he didn't bother and it was too much insulting for her that she immolated herself. Overall thing is what next and how do we resolve the problem. Not many people are really looking at the root cause of this and resolving the issues. 
We need to get rid of the caste and religion based preferential treatment at all levels. As much as one want to practice his religion, he could practice his caste too but as long as it does't trouble others. There must be strict regulation that makes necessary fear factor in the society for any crime in this category while avoiding abuse. Provide special opportunities for poor people (not based on religion or caste but just based on the economic conditions) and make everyone competitive!. 

As Rohit says, an individual is just a number, a vote and nothing more, but again when the very same individuals join together for constructive solutions (it is very easy to bunk classes and call for bandhs for few days to few weeks but the harsh reality is that we need to study, we need to get jobs and make money to feed stomach), we make hell lot of positive difference. Do you think you can get rid of religion or caste, no, not possible in the immediate future, but, it is pretty much possible that we can get rid of the influence and make everyone get equal opportunities. When there is no preferential treatment, certain issues will disappear and when the law enforcement makes sure that social life has balance and no one is superior and no one is treated inferior, then people will worry about their own life and careers. Religion should end in the temples (of all religions) and caste should end within the home. When outside all all equal. Freedom is good but too much of everything is bad, so boundaries should be defined well enough. What the students are doing now and what rohit and team earlier are wrong, but they have reasons and certainly tensions will die down sooner or later but not root causes will not be addressed, unless there is a really focussed attempt.

Interestingly, when I stopped agitative thoughts and started looking at the problems and possible solutions, it looks like things are making sense. I no longer hate KCR and family because they have their own limitations and a big quotary to feed.

Also, if we notice it, when chandra babu and KCR started dealing between themselves without feeding media, we see the note for vote scam on the back burner. I am not sure why TDP is letting Jagan to move freely when they claimed so much of corruption against Jagan. It might be because they already have a deal.

So when the political leaders are busy in solving their own problems,  It needs the common man to revolt and fight for what is needed for the society, but it should be with a goal. Where are those telangana JAC leaders now? what happened to them? Some of our universities are at the maximum shelters to the unemployed youth and nothing more. This has to change. They have to be the temples of learning and the makers of next generation leaders in true sense.

Management maintenance

I like this quote of Winston Churchil, "Responsibility is the price of greatness". It's a short sentence having lot of meaning for the managers.

The following page in the maintenance technology magazine is also applicable for managers particularly from software industry too.  It just seemed to be that it is apt for any industry for any type of management (including leaders of nations).

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Thought worker

(this is a very old post was in draft state and published it latest, wanted to write lot more but now its old enough to discard editing more)

Recently I attended the recruitment process at thought works, hyderabad.

I loved the overall interaction absolutely. Many times interviewers are like spell checkers, they check how much you mugged the dictionary (terms, definitions, individual minute details of each work flow etc on the technology areas that you claim to work so far).

Thought works is  completely different, I  keep telling my teams and people I mentor the importance of learnability. The number of years that we spend into a job/career most often lead you to accustom to  certain type of culture, technology and thought process and the very same thing that seem to make you strong often becomes your weakest point too!

Adaptability and ability to unlearn and learn new things is what rules the world in any domain. Thoughtworks exactly focusses on these aspects.  I remember Bharath or vikram saying, there is nothing like a Java developer or Ruby developer, project to project it could change. Basically we grow a step ahead and feel the becoming of a technology agnostic developer/programmer while retaining the fundamentals  of solving problems by writing code. This helps us being a person who doesn't just like a particular technology because he has been working on it (and never had exposure to rest of the world).

Friday, January 22, 2016

Appraisals - the reviews that we fake

The annual rituals (at some places they do it twice an year) at companies is an interesting exercise from external world but often executed in a boring way.

Intended goals of appraisals in general are:

  • Review the progress. Success, failure and any learnings to be made. Retrospect everything
  • Set the goals for next cycle
  • Pay revision and role changes.
  • Help management to plan the finances and projects/vision for the next cycle, next set of years.

What we usually do:

Manager pretends to be someone else (most often). He suddenly becomes a judge of the situation and the employee feels really hopeless because

  • Apply sandwitch model (praise him in the beginning and tell all bad things and then again praise him what he is good at to give him feel good factor).
  • Employee is told that he didn't deliver something not defined. 
  • If he has done something correctly,it is nothing great because he is supposed to do it.
  • Lot of lectures on what he should/shouldn't do.
  • His response to team/outside the team (vendors/clients) was not upto the mark, his communications need improvements.
  • Bla bla bla
What I would expect good manager to do:
  • Let the employee present his success and not successful tasks and the reasons for it.
  • Let the employee present his strengths and improvement areas.
  • Take inputs on how you(Manager) can improve. Employee's perception about certain experiences and how/why he would have wanted "you" to be.
  • Elicit the employee's professional goals from him and if he is not so sure, guide him on how he can set these goals.
  • Set realistic goals within the project/company and and how they could help employee's own goals.
  • Provide guidelines/vision and set up intermittant checkpoints to review the progress and adapt any changes in the goals 

What we are missing often is that this role play(manager pretending to be someone else) is not what may be required. I can not become someone else just in the review meeting. I as a manager need to be an example with my own deliverables and be a motivating leader for the team members to emulate or at least to take the positive spirit. 

I compare this with family relationships. If I pretend to be someone else are restrict my children, it doesn't help. I need to treat them as my friends and tell them the pros and cons of everything and take motivation from them. Many times my kids helped me to get over some bad experiences and some of their words and views changed the way I thought about a solution.

Manager is neither GOD nor priest. We don't need to be a one side judge.  For me a lead/manager is more a facilitator and help the employee realize the improvements needed and then in the regular life (after the appraisals meeting in day to day time) need to help the employee to focus on the goals and make decisions that could help him reach his goals. 

Many times employees do not know what they would need to reach their goals, unfortunately managers too do not know.  A good manager provides infrastructure, situations that would fit the employee to learn and deliver and love the work employee can long for, of course in the given context and within the limited boundaries.

Often managers becomes donkeys of doing so many mundane rituals (meetings, reports) that are highly unproductive and start wearing a different set of views resulting in immediate GAP with his/her associates.  This will continue. Most of the team members are more adaptive, because they need salary at the end of every pay period who don't adjust are found to be rebels and actions are taken.

Why an individual works so hard and becomes lead/manager and suddenly forgoes all his/her learning to do something that he was not prepared for (particularly in India your salary is linked with your designation and that drives people to crave for designations than real challenging work) is an interesting thing or for me, it is unfortunate thing.

You start becoming a  great leader when you find the goals that are worth living/dying for and you work your way to reach the goal. You help your team to help you to reach the goal so that you together with your team can reach the goal.

When you do not find the right goal, and try to leverage on the process alone to help you to take you to the place where it could (or there is no goal other than spending 8 hours doing something seemingly relevant). 

For me, it is about finding the right goal that you want to die for  and that drives everything else and  everything in the world helps you to reach your goal.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

The Japanese experience

It seemed really interesting to learn about Japan, this tiny country the way they tried to build their empire similar to British (they were successful but for short period of time and for some adventurous decisions). I was not sure where the pearl harbour is, though I have seen the movie couple of times, I was thinking it might be on the east coast or west coast but actually it is in Hawaii islands that belong to USA off west coast.

All the while I was thinking that Japan made stupid thing by attacking Pearl harbor, but then it was a preemptive attack so that USA doesn't stop them in south east asian colonies (KoreaPhilippines, Vietnam, Combodia, Dutch east indies etc.

Japan occupied Manchuria  part of china too (held for around 15 years or so). The primary reasons for the additional colonies for Japan, as per my understanding is:

1. Japan was the only country in Asia that had the very early development and lot of industrial growth. 
2. Their population was growing very fast. land was limited and they wanted more space for the Japanese people. Occupied Korea but that is a small piece of land, so started with China(Manchuria, the eastern part of China closure to Japan) and extended their attempts to increase towards east asian countries.
3. Resources

USA wanted to stop Japanese encroachments and I think it made certain rules to stop supplies (primarily the oil ) to Japan and that would severely impact Japanese army (air force, navy too). 

So Japan's plan was to attack the USA navy and they were actually successful in dismantling the USA navy on the west coast (looks like USA had most of its west coast navy at Pearl harbor).

Infact, Japan thought they could invade USA so that they can get oil supplies and then take over entire china too.

If not for the USA's bombs on Japan, it could probably have slightly different result or extended war and could have different results altogether.

Linking this with Subash Chandra Bose's  plans to liberate India from British rule with Indian supoys who joined in INA (Indian National Army), I think at least Indians need to be taught about the history correctly.

I don't think I learned about this in any of the history classes as a student. Given the widespread information through wikipedia and quora etc, probably the smart governments in India should invest and focus on getting the history right as it holds lot of motivation to all of us.

It is not about right or wrong, but knowing things as they happened.  Life is always about survival and when there is a conflict it was most often resulted in a physical war in the history.

Back to the present, the way USA negotiated terms with Arab countries and made US Dollar as the defacto standard of the world (It was gold earlier) giving an undue advantage to USA to print as much currency as it wished and it could trigger all troubles outside of USA so that world is busy trying to sort out their own issues leaving USA a safer country, it looks a great game plan by USA. They outsourced every damn thing to the rest of the world and we see that China is struggling with pollution already.  They don't cut their forest, but mexico and brazil does  to feed the USA.

The USA's value is in its currency, people forgot savings concept and enjoying life by spending all the money and USA government is getting richer with taxes and by selling their arms to countries (that it actually triggered wars).

Even the so called terrorism source is USA, it fostered all the bad guys for its own advantage to rein in USSR/Russia etc and then that has become a bigger than USA issue and every other country is paying for it.

If not it's patronizing the taliban, Afghan could have been a better place, if not for Iraq attack, ISIS could never have born.

The world needs better balancing act, USA can not rule the world like this. Indians need to learn lessons from past and the present and plan for a stronger and better world that coexists with all countries. 

It could be to start with Pakistan to help it get an identity, Pakistan never had an identity and it primarily has been living with "hate india" campaign. I think it was slightly better until 90s in terms of quality of living but then eventually it started lagging behind a lot.

India need to build peace with its neighbours and reduce the help it needs from developed nations. Probably we need to train people and export them to the places where it needed. It could mean that invading the world in a different format, but I think we have to do that. Fill the world with Indians who are disciplined and focussed and highly learned. If not if we just go after industrialization, then we will face many problems that the developed nations (say Korea etc) are facing. There will be big fight between the youth and the old for jobs. I heard from my korean colleague that government forces seniors over 50 to quit jobs by decreasing salaries (60 is their retirement age), so after 50 or 55 their salaries start getting reduced instead of increasing. And their concern is that they have more responsibilities at this age to support their children who need to study college that cost big money etc.

So overall, the focus should be on learning from the past, and from the current issues from developed nations so that we don't hit exactly same set of problems after 20 years or so when we are a developed nation.