Shri Hemendra Kothari, Chairman, DSP Merrill Lynch
Mukeshbhai, Anilbhai, friends sitting on the dais and admirers and friends of Dhirubhai.
Today we all are meeting to pay our homage to Dhirubhai. I just want to recollect few
of my experiences with Dhirubhai and my impression of the years with him. When I
came here, Mr. Shah, our Stock Exchange secretary for many years, gave me an
article, which came in The Times of India, on 17th of March. I think it is very apt that I
read it. The paragraph in the article quotes Dhirubhai saying, “I started my business
career in Mumbai with a chair and a table at a sum of Rs.150 per month. I didn’t even
have a phone then. When I needed money to set up an industry, I went to the Bombay
Stock Exchange. There I learnt the process of generating wealth and creating assets.”
It was at the BSE where he learnt his life’s basic philosophy to win people’s trust and
share wealth. So apt for him, he shared his wealth with four million shareholders,
which is a record in the world.
I recollect the first time I met him, which was 25 years ago. It was just after the issue,
the first IPO; my company must have sold some few thousand shares, he calls me to
tell that whoever has sold the share is forgetting that the share is going to be ten times.
Actually it went on to become more than a few hundred times.
The second incident I recollect, as Deenaben was talking about raising 100 crores,
which was absolutely unheard of in the capital market. There were very few issues, 9
to 10 crores to sell in the early 70s was a record. Not only was he himself convinced,
but he also convinced all of us that he could sell the shares, whether it was convertible
or non-convertible issues or shares. He inspired brokers to go to small towns and
villages and sell his shares. To have a general meeting in a football stadium was
unheard of. He thought of his shareholders all the time. I think that created a lot of
confidence in the people around.
Coming out of his office was coming out inspired and recharged. That’s the kind of
enthusiasm he created when you talked to him. Once we (Merrill Lynch) were
discussing with Anilbhai about raising 100 years bond, which was never heard of
before. And I think the only company that Merrill Lynch thought could raise money was
Reliance. And this is the type of confidence that he created with investors, whether
local or international. He was thinking really mega. Today in Asia if any industrialist is
thought of as number one, then that is Dhirubhai.
We all will miss him. Mukeshbhai and Anilbhai, we believe that with the experience
given to you by Dhirubhai, your company will go very far. We wish you all the best and
also remember Dhirubhai as a great man.
Thursday, June 30, 2005
Shri Hemendra Kothari, Chairman, DSP Merrill Lynch
Posted by Vijaychandran Veerachandran at 2:05 PM
Company Technology Sector Headquarters
Intellifit Body scanner Retail Horsham, PA
Sling Media TV channel transfer Media Gear San Mateo, CA
SigmaTel Audio chips Gadgetry Austin, TX
Crucell Cells for vaccine production Biotech Leiden, Holland
GoTV Networks Mobile content distributor Mobile Technology Sherman Oaks, CA
AuthenTec Touch-recognition technology Mobile Technology Melbourne, FL
Scanbuy Consumer bar-code technology Mobile Technology New York, NY
Techfaith Wireless Mobile handsets Mobile Technology Beijing, China
OnTech Self-heating cans Packaging San Diego, CA
Aspen Aerogels Insulating fabric Materials Northborough, MA
QuesTek Steel R&D Metals Evanston, IL
Odeo Podcasting Content San Francisco, CA
MDA Cameras Gadgetry Brampton, Ontario, Canada
Khimetrics Pricing and positioning software Retail Scottsdale, AZ
Cypak "Intelligent" containers Packaging Stockholm, Sweden
WholeSecurity Anti-hacking software Security Austin, TX
Stirling Energy Systems Solar-energy system Energy Phoenix, AZ
Orchestria Content-scanning software Security New York, NY
Mobile 365 Global messaging Texting Chantilly, VA
XenSource "Virtualization" software Computing Palo Alto, CA
Attensity Language processing software Language Processing Palo Alto, CA
Sirtris Pharmaceuticals Drug development Biotech Waltham, MA
Bacterin Anti-infective coatings Biotech Belgrade, MT
XDx "AlloMap" technology Biotech San Francisco, CA
IODA Music distribution Content San Francisco,
Posted by Vijaychandran Veerachandran at 11:19 AM
Monday, June 27, 2005
Stock Investment Advice to Avoid Rip-offs
If You Are Cold Called, Steer Clear - Rule 1.
Double Check All Information You Are Given - Rule 2
If It Sounds Too Good To Be True - It Probably Is! - Rule 3
Ask If The Stock Is Regulation S - If They Are - Run - Rule 4
Posted by Vijaychandran Veerachandran at 7:38 PM
Ok this is a very good question , I have been thinking about it for a while me reach the answers thru few questions. Some how I prefer it that way...
Do always search engine serves the purpose..
Suppose we are looking for some information related to titanic. Like some historical information or looking for the article the period when titanic was discovered. google for titanic This is the result which gives info about movies and stuffs . Very far from our objective we search for titanic articlele what we are getting is stuff which is irrelevant ...So what is the solution...
Search engine should be like conversation.
We put some query it lists a few we add key words to narrow should be like literally getting an answers to the questions. U know by considering billions of pages adding to database everyday as the web is getting more popular/ Its very and a subject of utmost necessary that we should have some thing equipped with more power and capability. Yes it can the potential of acting like a answer for everything about everything in the world.
may be ...
I think they found some thing similar like yahoo mindset but still its not up to what I really want the folks there too doo.. May be its just a matter of time. Let us wait for a little bit longer...
Posted by Vijaychandran Veerachandran at 9:17 AM
Thursday, June 23, 2005
'You've got to find what you love,' Jobs says
This is the text of the Commencement address by Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple Computer and of Pixar Animation Studios, delivered on June 12, 2005.
I am honored to be with you today at your commencement from one of the finest universities in the world. I never graduated from college. Truth be told, this is the closest I've ever gotten to a college graduation. Today I want to tell you three stories from my life. That's it. No big deal. Just three stories.
The first story is about connecting the dots.
I dropped out of Reed College after the first 6 months, but then stayed around as a drop-in for another 18 months or so before I really quit. So why did I drop out?
It started before I was born. My biological mother was a young, unwed college graduate student, and she decided to put me up for adoption. She felt very strongly that I should be adopted by college graduates, so everything was all set for me to be adopted at birth by a lawyer and his wife. Except that when I popped out they decided at the last minute that they really wanted a girl. So my parents, who were on a waiting list, got a call in the middle of the night asking: "We have an unexpected baby boy; do you want him?" They said: "Of course." My biological mother later found out that my mother had never graduated from college and that my father had never graduated from high school. She refused to sign the final adoption papers. She only relented a few months later when my parents promised that I would someday go to college.
And 17 years later I did go to college. But I naively chose a college that was almost as expensive as Stanford, and all of my working-class parents' savings were being spent on my college tuition. After six months, I couldn't see the value in it. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and no idea how college was going to help me figure it out. And here I was spending all of the money my parents had saved their entire life. So I decided to drop out and trust that it would all work out OK. It was pretty scary at the time, but looking back it was one of the best decisions I ever made. The minute I dropped out I could stop taking the required classes that didn't interest me, and begin dropping in on the ones that looked interesting.
It wasn't all romantic. I didn't have a dorm room, so I slept on the floor in friends' rooms, I returned coke bottles for the 5¢ deposits to buy food with, and I would walk the 7 miles across town every Sunday night to get one good meal a week at the Hare Krishna temple. I loved it. And much of what I stumbled into by following my curiosity and intuition turned out to be priceless later on. Let me give you one example:
Reed College at that time offered perhaps the best calligraphy instruction in the country. Throughout the campus every poster, every label on every drawer, was beautifully hand calligraphed. Because I had dropped out and didn't have to take the normal classes, I decided to take a calligraphy class to learn how to do this. I learned about serif and san serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great. It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can't capture, and I found it fascinating.
None of this had even a hope of any practical application in my life. But ten years later, when we were designing the first Macintosh computer, it all came back to me. And we designed it all into the Mac. It was the first computer with beautiful typography. If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts. And since Windows just copied the Mac, its likely that no personal computer would have them. If I had never dropped out, I would have never dropped in on this calligraphy class, and personal computers might not have the wonderful typography that they do. Of course it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards ten years later.
Again, you can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something - your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.
My second story is about love and loss.
I was lucky – I found what I loved to do early in life. Woz and I started Apple in my parents garage when I was 20. We worked hard, and in 10 years Apple had grown from just the two of us in a garage into a $2 billion company with over 4000 employees. We had just released our finest creation - the Macintosh - a year earlier, and I had just turned 30. And then I got fired. How can you get fired from a company you started? Well, as Apple grew we hired someone who I thought was very talented to run the company with me, and for the first year or so things went well. But then our visions of the future began to diverge and eventually we had a falling out. When we did, our Board of Directors sided with him. So at 30 I was out. And very publicly out. What had been the focus of my entire adult life was gone, and it was devastating.
I really didn't know what to do for a few months. I felt that I had let the previous generation of entrepreneurs down - that I had dropped the baton as it was being passed to me. I met with David Packard and Bob Noyce and tried to apologize for screwing up so badly. I was a very public failure, and I even thought about running away from the valley. But something slowly began to dawn on me – I still loved what I did. The turn of events at Apple had not changed that one bit. I had been rejected, but I was still in love. And so I decided to start over.
I didn't see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.
During the next five years, I started a company named NeXT, another company named Pixar, and fell in love with an amazing woman who would become my wife. Pixar went on to create the worlds first computer animated feature film, Toy Story, and is now the most successful animation studio in the world. In a remarkable turn of events, Apple bought NeXT, I retuned to Apple, and the technology we developed at NeXT is at the heart of Apple's current renaissance. And Laurene and I have a wonderful family together.
I'm pretty sure none of this would have happened if I hadn't been fired from Apple. It was awful tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it. Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don't lose faith. I'm convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You've got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don't settle.
My third story is about death.
When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: "If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you'll most certainly be right." It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: "If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?" And whenever the answer has been "No" for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.
Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything – all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.
About a year ago I was diagnosed with cancer. I had a scan at 7:30 in the morning, and it clearly showed a tumor on my pancreas. I didn't even know what a pancreas was. The doctors told me this was almost certainly a type of cancer that is incurable, and that I should expect to live no longer than three to six months. My doctor advised me to go home and get my affairs in order, which is doctor's code for prepare to die. It means to try to tell your kids everything you thought you'd have the next 10 years to tell them in just a few months. It means to make sure everything is buttoned up so that it will be as easy as possible for your family. It means to say your goodbyes.
I lived with that diagnosis all day. Later that evening I had a biopsy, where they stuck an endoscope down my throat, through my stomach and into my intestines, put a needle into my pancreas and got a few cells from the tumor. I was sedated, but my wife, who was there, told me that when they viewed the cells under a microscope the doctors started crying because it turned out to be a very rare form of pancreatic cancer that is curable with surgery. I had the surgery and I'm fine now.
This was the closest I've been to facing death, and I hope its the closest I get for a few more decades. Having lived through it, I can now say this to you with a bit more certainty than when death was a useful but purely intellectual concept:
No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don't want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life's change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.
Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of other's opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.
When I was young, there was an amazing publication called The Whole Earth Catalog, which was one of the bibles of my generation. It was created by a fellow named Stewart Brand not far from here in Menlo Park, and he brought it to life with his poetic touch. This was in the late 1960's, before personal computers and desktop publishing, so it was all made with typewriters, scissors, and polaroid cameras. It was sort of like Google in paperback form, 35 years before Google came along: it was idealistic, and overflowing with neat tools and great notions.
Stewart and his team put out several issues of The Whole Earth Catalog, and then when it had run its course, they put out a final issue. It was the mid-1970s, and I was your age. On the back cover of their final issue was a photograph of an early morning country road, the kind you might find yourself hitchhiking on if you were so adventurous. Beneath it were the words: "Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish." It was their farewell message as they signed off. Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. And I have always wished that for myself. And now, as you graduate to begin anew, I wish that for you.
Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.
Thank you all very much.
Posted by Vijaychandran Veerachandran at 1:44 PM
Real Estate Wishes and Billionaire Dreams
Can you make a $1 billion in real estate? These 46 people on Forbes’ latest list of the world’s billionaires did.
BY HALEY M. HWANG
If you have dreams and aspirations of tremendous success and making millions in real estate—you’re not aiming high enough.
According to the recently released list of “The World’s Richest People” by Forbes magazine—the 19th annual list of the world’s billionaires—46 out of the 691 billionaires (7 percent) made their money in the real estate industry. An additional 18 billionaires (3 percent) made their fortune in diversified industries and investments that included significant holdings in real estate.
And although no real estate billionaire came close to software giant Bill Gates, who was No. 1 on the list for the 11th straight year with $46.5 billion, the richest billionaires to make their fortunes in real estate were Raymond, Thomas, and Walter Kwok (#31, $10.9 billion)—brothers who inherited Sun Hung Kai Properties, a giant real estate development company in Hong Kong, after their father’s death in 1990. They also branched out into cellular phone service and bus operations in Hong Kong.
The richest American to make his fortunes in real estate, according to the Forbes list, is Donald Bren, 72, of Newport Beach, Calif. (#122, $4.3 billion), who started a homebuilding company and sold it to International Paper for $34 million in 1970. He now sells finished plots on Irvine Ranch, just south of Los Angeles, for more than $1 million per acre. He also owns 400 office buildings, 36 shopping centers, 80 apartment complexes, and two luxury hotels.
Other American real estate billionaires who may be familiar names to you include “The Apprentice” star Donald Trump (#228, $2.6 billion), hotel heiress Leona Helmsley (#292, $2.2 billion), and William Pulte (#437, $1.5 billion), founder of Pulte Homes.
If you aspire to billionaire status, there’s good news. Although 17 of the 46 real estate billionaires (37 percent) inherited and then grew their fortunes, 29 of them (63 percent) are self-made billionaires. Also, almost half (47 percent) of the real estate billionaires live in the United States, with eight living in California (17 percent), four in New York (9 percent), and three in Illinois (7 percent).
So what characteristics do all of the real estate billionaires share—that you can possibly emulate to achieve higher success? To increase your chances of being a billionaire, keep these thoughts in mind:
Move to California. Of the 21 U.S. real estate billionaires, eight (38 percent) live in Atherton, Newport Beach, Stockton, Palo Alto, or Los Angeles.
Immigrate to Asia. If you have aspirations to live outside the United States, move to Asia and practice real estate there (13 of the 46 real estate billionaires, or 28 percent, live in Hong Kong, Japan, or Singapore.). The top three non-U.S. countries with the most real estate billionaires are Hong Kong (7), United Kingdom (5), and Japan (4).
Get married. Of the 43 real estate billionaires whose marital status are known, 37 are married (86 percent), three are divorced (7 percent), and three are widowed (7 percent).
Have lots of kids. The 43 real estate billionaires whose marital status are known have an average of 2.9 children; 11 (or 26 percent) have four or more children, with William Pulte topping the list with a reported 14 children.
Get a college degree. Of the 26 real estate billionaires whose educational attainments are known, 20 have a college degree or higher (77 percent) (15, or 58 percent, have a bachelor’s degree and five, or 19 percent, have graduate degrees); five are high school grads (19 percent); and one is a high school dropout (4 percent).
Following is a complete list of the 46 billionaires who made their fortunes in real estate:
1. Raymond, Thomas, and Walter Kwok (#31, $10.9 billion), Hong Kong
2. Lee Shau Kee (#38, $9.3 billion), Hong Kong
3. Gerald Cavendish Grosvenor and family (#80, $5.6 billion), Chester, United Kingdom
4. Eitaro Itoyama (#103, $4.9 billion), Tokyo, Japan
5. Fukuzo Iwasaki (#117, $4.4 billion), Kagoshima, Japan
6. Donald Bren (#122, $4.3 billion), Newport Beach, Calif.
7. Cheng Yu-tung (#132, $4.2 billion), Hong Kong
8. Kwek Leng Beng and family (#138, $4 billion), Singapore
9. Yoshiaki Tsutsumi (#149, $3.7 billion), Tokyo, Japan
10. Frank Lowy and family (#151, $3.6 billion), Sydney, Australia
11. Akira Mori (#170, $3.2 billion), Tokyo, Japan
12. Nina Wang (#188, $3.1 billion), Hong Kong
13. Stefan Schörghuber (#203, $2.9 billion), Munich, Germany
14. Charles Cadogan and family (#219, $2.7 billion), London, United Kingdom
15. Ng Teng Fong (#228, $2.6 billion), Singapore
16. Donald Trump (#228, $2.6 billion), New York
17. Leonard Stern (#243, $2.5 billion), New York
18. Melinda Esterhazy (#272, $$2.3 billion), Zurich, Switzerland
19. Leona Helmsley (#292, $2.2 billion), New York
20. Samual Zell (#292, $2.2 billion), Chicago
21. Matthew Bucksbaum and family (#321, $2 billion), Chicago
22. Chen Din Hwa (#321, $2 billion), Hong Kong
23. Peter Woo and family (#321, $2 billion), Hong Kong
24. Melvin Simon (#355, $1.9 billion), Indianapolis
25. John Whittaker (#387, $1.7 billion), Isle of Man, United Kingdom
26. Manual Jove (#413, $1.6 billion), La Coruna, Spain
27. Mortimer Zuckerman (#413, $1.6 billion), New York
28. Archie Aldis (Red) Emmerson (#437, $1.5 billion), Redding, Calif.
29. William Pulte (#437, $1.5 billion), Detroit
30. John Sobrato (#437, $1.5 billion), Atherton, Calif.
31. Edward Debartolo Jr. (#488, $1.4 billion), Tampa, Fla.
32. Paul Raymond (#488, $1.4 billion), London, United Kingdom
33. John Gandel and family (#507, $1.3 billion), Melbourne, Australia
34. Vincent Lo (#507, $1.3 billion), Hong Kong
35. Harry Triguboff (#507, $1.3 billion), Sydney, Australia
36. George Argyros (#548, $1.2 billion), Newport Beach, Calif.
37. Carl Berg (#548, $1.2 billion), Atherton, Calif.
38. Thomas Flatley (#548, $1.2 billion), Milton, Mass.
39. Olav Thon (#548, $1.2 billion), Oslo, Norway
40. Albert Gubay (#584, $1.1 billion), Isle of Man, United Kingdom
41. Edward Roski Jr. (#584, $1.1 billion), Los Angeles
42. Alexander Spanos (#584, $1.1 billion), Stockton, Calif.
43. John Arrillaga (#620, $1 billion), Palo Alto, Calif.
44. Neil Bluhm (#620, $1 billion), Chicago
45. Richard Peery (#620, $1 billion), Palo Alto, Calif.
46. A. Alfred Taubman (#620, $1 billion), Bloomfield Hills, Mich.
Posted by Vijaychandran Veerachandran at 9:20 AM
Wednesday, June 22, 2005
What I-Banking Is
Traditionally, commercial banks and investment banks performed completely distinct functions. When Joe on Main Street needed a loan to buy a car, he visited a commercial bank. When Sprint needed to raise cash to fund an acquisition or build its fiber-optic network, it called on its investment bank. Paychecks and lifestyles reflected this division too, with investment bankers reveling in their large bonuses and glamorous ways while commercial bankers worked nine-to-five and then went home to their families. Today, as the laws requiring the separation of investment and commercial banking are reformed, more and more firms are making sure they have a foot in both camps, thus blurring the lines and the cultures.
Investment banking isn’t one specific service or function. It is an umbrella term for a range of activities: underwriting, selling, and trading securities (stocks and bonds); providing financial advisory services, such as mergers and acquisition advice; and managing assets. Investment banks offer these services to companies, governments, nonprofit institutions, and individuals.
The action and players in investment banking are still centered in New York City and a few other money centers around the world, but the list of players is getting smaller as the industry consolidates. Today, leading banks include Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Citigroup Global Markets Holdings, Credit Suisse First Boston, and J.P. Morgan Chase. These and other firms are regular visitors to campus career centers.
What You'll Do
The intensely competitive, action-oriented, profit-hungry world of investment banking can seem like a bigger-than-life place where deals are done and fortunes are made. In fact, it’s a great place to learn the ins and outs of corporate finance and pick up analytical skills that will remain useful throughout your business career. But investment banking has a very steep learning curve, and chances are you’ll start off in a job whose duties are more Working Girl than Wall Street.
Wall Street is filled with high-energy, hardworking young hotshots. Some are investment bankers who spend hours hunched behind computers, poring over financial statements and churning out spreadsheets by the pound. Others are traders who keep one eye on their Bloomberg screen, a phone over each ear, and a buyer or seller on hold every minute the market’s in session. Traders work hand in hand with the institutional sales group, whose members hop from airport to airport trying to sell big institutions a piece of the new stock offering they have coming down the pipeline. Then there are the analytically minded research analysts, who read, write, live, and breathe whichever industry they follow, 24/7.
Who Does Well
You shouldn’t go into banking just for the money—the lifestyle is too demanding. To survive in investment banking, much less to do well, you’ll need to like the work itself. And, quite honestly, even if you love the work, an investment banking career can still be a tough road. If the market or your industry group is in a slump (or if your firm suddenly decides to get out of a certain segment of the business), there’s always the chance that you may find a pink slip on your desk Monday morning.
But, if you like fast-paced, deal-oriented work, are at ease with numbers and analysis, have a tolerance for risk, and don’t mind putting your personal life on hold for the sake of your job, then investment banking may be a great career choice. But if this doesn’t sound like you, a job in investment banking could turn out to be a bad dream come true.
This overview is excerpted from the WetFeet Insider Guide to Careers in Investment Banking. To get the whole story, from the major players to what it’s like to work in the industry, buy the book!
Posted by Vijaychandran Veerachandran at 8:40 AM
According to Rajul garg, COO Induslogic, "Managing strong technical people is really like managing the super ability section of a school. You need to relate to them as people and harness their energy in the positive direction. It's about realising that a coach has to have all the team members better than the coach himself! Modern managers need to cope up with the brightest who end up making more money than them and having more fun in the process!
Posted by Vijaychandran Veerachandran at 8:06 AM
Tuesday, June 21, 2005
'Ear To The Ground-by K.P.Singh '
4th March 2005
I DON’T know if today’s B-schools teach you about “Productivity in Decision-Making”, but this is essentially what I imbibed from my two mentors – George Warren Hoddy and Jack Welch. As a young army officer entering the world of business in the 1960s, without the benefits of either a business family background or a management education, it was my good fortune to come in close contact with these two global corporate legends, one after the other, and to learn the ropes from the best of the best.
I first met George Hoddy when he came to India to set up a Universal Electric plant in Faridabad. I soon realized that he was a man who led by personal example, treating employees as family and with a knack of surrounding himself with people of robust common sense. He took decisions only after deep study, working hard to understand the details and encouraging those who worked for him to get to the heart of the matter. I learnt from him that to be an effective corporate leader you have to equip yourself with knowledge – get to know deeply whichever field you are involved in. At the same time, the trick lies in not getting immersed in details so much that you can not separate the meat from the bone.
Getting to grips with essentials is also the basic ingredient to Jack Welch’s formula for success. He hated long-winded presentations.
“Cut out verbosity. Come to the point,” was his characteristic reprimand. So much so that he expected his executives to be “one-minute men” or “five-minute men” – meaning that within that stipulated time, they had to be able to spell out the issues and summaries the alternatives.
From both Hoddy and Welch I learnt that corporate decisions have to be based on a judicious blend of both the macro picture and the micro reality. I disagree with the view that CEOs are only macro – managers. I think it’s important not to lose sight of ground – level details. I have learnt that the speed with which a person can synchronies the micro details with the macro picture is the essence of success in leadership as one of these in exclusion to the other will be ineffective.
Corporate leadership involves dealing with people. Not only must a CEO have the ability to get along with others, he should also display a degree of patience and tolerance. This was also among the lessons I learnt from my mentors, both of whom were intellectual giants who had the greatness to even suffer fools on occasions.
Positive thinking is a prerequisite for success. The old saying that “Every cloud has a silver lining” isn’t just a worn cliché – it’s philosophical truth of life. I myself have tried to make it a habit to actively look for the silver lining behind even the darkest of clouds. At the same time, one needs to be aware of potential downsides, so as to keep contingency plans ready for worst-case scenarios. Before taking any critical business decision or before venturing into any new project, I always make it a point to take a good look at not just the pros but also the cons. Anticipating negatives and things that could go wrong has, in my experience, invariably led to success and minimized chances of failure.
Undoubtedly, as a CEO, it’s essential to have big dreams and be a bit of a visionary. But it’s equally necessary to be pragmatic and to acknowledge that things don’t always work as planned. The key to success lies in being undaunted in the face of set backs and, indeed, to learn from failure. As the legendary Henry Ford once said: “Failures are only opportunities to begin again more intelligently.”
Life, indeed, is full of peaks and valleys. George Hoddy is living example of the virtues of humility and austerity even in times of plenty and prosperity. Even at the peak of his success he was never wasteful or extravagant.
Today, as I prepare to attend the 100th birthday celebrations of George Warren Hoddy at Owosso in Michigan on March 7, I feel a great sense of affection and gratitude to him for being my friend, mentor and benefactor.
Posted by Vijaychandran Veerachandran at 1:15 PM
Friday, June 10, 2005
Some interesting facts came out:
1. The prime reason the Google home page is so bare is due to the fact that the founders didn't know HTML and just wanted a quick interface. Infact it was noted that the submit button was a long time coming and hitting the RETURN key was the only way to burst Google into life.
2. Due to the sparseness of the homepage, in early user tests they noted people just sitting looking at the screen. After a minute of nothingness, the tester intervened and asked 'Whats up?' to which they replied "We are waiting for the rest of it". To solve that particular problem the Google Copyright message was inserted to act as a crude end of page marker.
3. One of the biggest leap in search usage came about when they introduced their much improved spell checker giving birth to the "Did you mean..." feature. This instantly doubled their traffic, but they had some interesting discussions on how best to place that information, as most people simply tuned that out. But they discovered the placement at the bottom of the results was the most effective area.
4. The infamous "I feel lucky" is nearly never used. However, in trials it was found that removing it would somehow reduce the Google experience. Users wanted it kept. It was a comfort button.
5. Orkut is very popular in Brazil. Orkut was the brainchild of a very intelligent Google engineer who was pretty much given free reign to run with it, without having to go through the normal Google UI procedures, hence the reason it doesn't look or feel like a Google application. They are looking at improving Orkut to cope with the loads it places on the system.
6. Google makes changes small-and-often. They will sometimes trial a particular feature with a set of users from a given network subnet; for example Excite@Home users often get to see new features. They aren't told of this, just presented with the new UI and observed how they use it.
7. Google has the largest network of translators in the world
They use the 20% / 5% rules. If at least 20% of people use a feature, then it will be included. At least 5% of people need to use a particular search preference before it will make it into the 'Advanced Preferences'.
8. They have found in user testing, that a small number of people are very typical of the larger user base. They run labs continually and always monitoring how people use a page of results.
9. The name 'Google' was an accident. A spelling mistake made by the original founders who thought they were going for 'Googol'
10. Gmail was used internally for nearly 2years prior to launch to the public. They discovered there was approximately 6 types of email users, and Gmail has been designed to accommodate these 6.
11. They listen to feedback actively. Emailing Google isn't emailing a blackhole.
Employees are encouraged to use 20% of their time working on their own projects. Google News, Orkut are both examples of projects that grew from this working model.
This wasn't a technical talk so no information regarding any infrastructure was presented however they did note that they have a mantra of aiming to give back each page with in 500ms, rendered.
12. Quote: Give Users What They Want When They Want It
Quote: Integrate Sensibly
Posted by Vijaychandran Veerachandran at 10:07 AM