Monday, August 29, 2011

The pink umbrella

I bought a state-of-the-art Japanese umbrella (or that’s what the vendor claimed to charge me a premium) in Singapore last year. It is big. So big that I can accommodate an entire cricket team along with the 2 umpires under it and we still can have a celebration. And then it can be folded down to put into my back-pocket when I am carrying it around. Its super cool so much so that I could use it as a pick-up line – “Do you wanna see my umbrella?”

Anyway, I bought this magic wand to Mumbai. I have been using it on and off in light rain. The first time I took it out in Mumbai torrential rains (we term it downpour, and it literally is – Mumbai rains are like someone in the sky turning a huge bucket of water all on your head at once!), that was the last time it ever worked. Now it is all broken and if I try to open it, the umbrella drapes around me like a burka.

Rains are expected to subside by the mid of next month. So I am not thinking of doing a capital investment in a umbrella now. I thought I borrow my mom’s umbrella. Now the problem with her umbrella is – it is small (I can hardly fit my stomach inside it) and it is pink. Pink as in bright baby pink. Now with the "I don’t care attitude" that I have lately developed, I thought it was okay to carry a pink umbrella and go to the crowded city (and for added effect, I was also singing Umbrella by Rihanna).

I was wrong. Absolutely everybody on the street turned around to look at me. I think the sight of a big fat guy with a pink umbrella didn’t gel well with the rest of the crowd, and I kinda stood out. My macho image suddenly got a huge beating. So to salvage the rest of my pride, I closed the umbrella and walked in the pouring rain. I held it in my hand as if I was carrying someone else’s umbrella. The pains a guy has to go through! Tch tch. Now I have decided to invest in a guy-umbrella, even if its for a day!

Monday, August 22, 2011

New species

Lately, I have been noticing a new species on Mumbai roads. The species resembles the females of the human race but are characterized by a mobile communication device either stuck directly  or wirelessly to their ear. They can be seen walking randomly, aimlessly and completely oblivious of their surroundings.

The species walks and talks oblivious of the fact that it is right in the middle of a busy traffic junction, in the middle of a busy street, or in a shopping mall blocking everybody’s way. For this species, everything around them is a nice quite garden with flowers, birds and bees for their company.

Now assuming that most long duration calls happen between members of the opposite sex, I always wonder, why don't I see equal number of men on the roads walking dreamily with their mobile phones to their ears? This thing has been bothering me for a while. And here is what I have concluded.

The sex ratio in Mumbai is amongst the lowest in India (838 girls per 1000 guys). That means there are a lot of suitors per eligible girl in Mumbai. Being the nice girls they are, every guy who approaches them is given an equal opportunity to prove his worth. So every gal has to entertain so many phone calls in a day and patiently listen to every suitor as he tries to prove his superiority over the other guy.

Considering that its a competition, guys sit in a calm, secure place away from all distractions and call up the gals. The gals on the other hand have to handle so many calls (as they are nice) that they cant sit at a place and take the call. That's why I see many of them walking around dreamily.

So next time when you are driving or walking in a public area, please do not lose your patience, they are just doing good to the males of our species.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Doggie days

India is a very dog friendly country. Especially in Mumbai these days if you are a dog, we take care of your food shelter and clothing (Hmm, may be not clothing – cause I didn’t come across a dog who was shy for being naked).

Food – We throw our garbage on the road. Even if we put it in the municipality provided dustbins, we make sure that we keep the lids open. So all the dogs can get in and eat at their will. Then we have dog lovers who on their morning walk serve left overs from yesterday to all the dogs that they meet on their way.

Shelter – we provide our crazily parked cars. Ever car has a dog sleeping under it. So each time before we get into a car we bend down and request the dog for permission to take away its shelter. Then of course we have all these covered sheds built here and there especially for all our doggy neighbours to sleep. Also in the nights, human beings are not allowed to walk on the streets. Doggies fiercely guard their shelters in the night (may be for little doggies to sleep – or may be they do not like humans invading their sense of privacy). After all, how many of us would like to have dogs in our bedrooms when we get all intimate?

But, all this food and shelter has made the rest of our roads (the ones left after the parked cars and the cordoned off areas by doggie pee markings) doggie dropping zones. So doggies attend their nature’s calls on the only strip of land left for pedestrians. So if you go out for a nice evening walk, either you smear your shoes in doggie droppings or else you hop, skip, jump around town. No wonder Indians who go for a walk are healthier than people who go to the gym.

If you are an exploited dog reading this blog and living in any other part of the world, please come down to Mumbai and I will be happy to help you.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Porter’s 5 forces

So I have had the unique opportunity to interview a few MBAs to recruit for my company in the last few weeks. Being a techie in my jobs before, interviewing was fairly simple. You have a set of your favourite programming related questions that you ask. If the candidate can answer 50% of them, you select her, else bye bye.

Recruiting MBAs however for me has been very difficult so far. You are expected to evaluate their analytical and other MBA skills (read soft skills!). Now these skills are pretty difficult to decipher if you don’t lead the interview properly. Like most of you already know, most “MBA types” are very good at speaking and can very well lead you to their comfort zones in an interview.

Now, as a part of any MBA education, I am sure we go through a dozen or so different frameworks in each subject which aid in analysing or predicting certain factors. So be it Marketing, Finance, Strategy, Operations or Human Resources, there are a set of frameworks that have been defined and widely utilized in each of those streams.

Porter's 5 forces

However, ask any MBA to analyse anything in this big bad world and beyond, the only framework that they somehow end up utilizing is the Porter’s 5 forces (Yeah, I am exaggerating, some do use the SWOT analysis framework as well but that's all). In the last few interviews, I have seen Porter’s 5 forces being used to analyse anything and everything from company profitability, population growth of India, US debt crisis, European debt crisis to the effectiveness of the Lokpal bill. My understanding of the Porter’s 5 forces has been now so screwed up (thanks to the enterprising candidates) that I thought I sit and read the theory again to really understand what it means. Hence this blog.

If there is one thing I realized, I am never gonna use the framework in any interview ever, unless the interviewer specifically asks me to use it!