31 January 2014

Life after Nokia

What does it feel like being fired/made redundant after working for several years for one of the world's most iconic companies? 

Apart from obvious consequences, like losing a steady source of income and sense of security, it would also leave a big void in one's life. I believe work fills a major part of a passionate worker's life. 

I found something similar in a BBC story about redundancies created by Nokia's fall from the perch. The story also relates the activities of the ex-workers of Nokia, like what some of them are doing now.

From the archive: The Explainer: Inflation

29 January 2014

Geography as History

Geography is one of my most favourite subjects. I have always believed that all history, of mankind and of everything around us, is the result of geography. If you had attended any of my classes, then you would have often heard me say that, "geography is the greatest determinant of history". 

Yesterday, I stumbled onto a remarkable piece in The Times of India, which related the story of how geography has rarely withstood the test of history. I think the reverse is a greater truth. 

Here's an excerpt:

From 1900 to 2011, the world atlas was redrawn several times, giving birth to 154 of the total 196 modern states (193 UN members and three non members). On average, every year since 1900 has witnessed the birth of more than one new nation. Roughly 68% of the world's inhibited area got its national identity during this period. Also, 83% of the world's population lives in geographical countries which didn't exist before 1900.

Go, read the complete piece.

26 January 2014

Sunday Reads - Secret Google Lab & Our Man in Africa

Happy Republic Day!

Last Sunday, I was travelling (Bangalore) and hence, could not share Sunday Reads. 

Here's the latest edition of Sunday Reads. 

  • Our man in Africa. (FP)
  • Interview with Peter Higgs. (Guardian) Friends, I strongly recommend this piece.
  • The secret Google lab that rewards failure. (BBC)
  • Capital punishment: The indefensible statute. (The Hindu) I do not agree with the idea but the argument is interesting. 

24 January 2014

AAP & English Media: A divorce in the offing?

Has the honeymoon between the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the English media ended

"TV news, caught off guard by the sudden termination of the “police” protest where the AAP and Delhi Police ironically shared common ground outside Rail Bhavan, initially were with the AAP:  “Kejriwal has his way”’ (CNN-IBN, Headlines Today) as “Centre gives in to AAP” (NDTV 24×7)... By the time the news channels rolled out their big guns at 9 pm, the mood had turned cynical: “Total climbdown by AAP” (Times Now) was the most extreme judgement." 

Read the three articles I wrote on the duplicity of India's paid media. 

India's Paid Media

The Great Fraud Act

The Great NDTV Rope Act

22 January 2014

McIntosh Apple & Slaves of Nazis

The BBC Magazine is one of my favourite reads. Here are two really interesting pieces from the latest issue.

The Apple Mac has risen spectacularly since its launch 30 years ago. But the apple variety it's named after has gone in the opposite direction. What happened to the McIntosh Apple

Click here to know about the Brazilian ranch where the Nazis kept slaves. 

I suggest you explore the complete issue.

20 January 2014

Monday Late Night Edition - The Egyptian Saga Omnibus

Egypt is facing internal turmoil. From dictatorship to democracy to chaos, Egypt is experiencing it all. Click on the links below for an omnibus edition on Egypt.
  • How a 'Yes' or 'No' will shape Egypt's future (BBC)
  • Testing the military's legitimacy (CNN)
  • Egyptian constitution approved (ABC)

18 January 2014

Saturday Infographic: Global Growth Outlook

For the first time since 2010, the World Bank raised its forecast forglobal economic growth, with the world's largest economy, the U.S. leading the path. If the forecast proves right, it would pave the path for global economic recovery. This infographic is from the Reuters Blog. Click here for the complete article on WB's global economic projections. 

16 January 2014

China & The Big Bang Theory

The Big Bang Theory is one of the world's most popular serials. The story of a group of science nerds, it has captured the imagination of millions of viewers around the world. 

Apart from featuring some quirky and nerdy characters, there are some very different reasons as to why the Chinese have taken to this western television show. Foreign Policy magazine carried an interesting piece on the popularity of the show in China. Here's an excerpt: 
Awkward bookworms like the male characters in The Big Bang Theoryare becoming more hip in China, or at least more mainstream: One of China's most popular words in 2013 was diaosi, a once-pejorative term for poor, girlfriend-less geeks that translators generally render as "loser." In one survey conducted by popular Internet portal Sohu, over 80 percent of respondents aged 24 to 34 identified as diaosi. On Douban, a social media platform for television and book lovers, one commenter remarked that "many diaosi were watching" The Big Bang Theory. The state-run newspaper Guangzhou Daily wrote in an August 2012 review of the sitcom that "we have experienced the life of a diaosi," which is why "we see ourselves in The Big Bang Theory."
Strongly recommended read; click here.

(Read How to prepare for B-School GD, Essay & Interview)

14 January 2014

How to prepare for B-School GD, Essay & Interview

This post on GDPI preparation comes in the wake of FB/Whatsapp requests. Last year too, I had written a similar note.

If you have secured or expect an interview short-list from a b-school, then you should now focus on your preparation for the highly competitive rigorous stages like GD, Essay, & Interview.  

Over the next several weeks, please focus on the following for effective GDPI prep: 

(a) Academics
  • Pour over your graduation subjects. Many of you have your own favourite subject(s). If you have one, then you must be really comfortable with almost all things related to this subject. Also, throw a glance at your project work and paper presentation.

(b) Career 
  • Think about long term plans, even if not concrete, get a hang of things in the chosen line of activity, how your strengths (current skill set) match your choice. Also, think about Plan B.

(c) Personality-related Qs
  • Evaluate your mental strengths and weaknesses; think of instances where they came into play; how has a particular strength helped you become better; what are you doing to overcome/tackle any weakness.

(d) GK & Current Affairs 
  • Global economics: Faltering global economic recovery, eurozone crisis and U.S. economic problems and their likely impact on India and the world; rise of China as an economic power; BRICS, PIIGS, MIST.
  • Indian economy: Reasons behind slowing growth in India, India's failing reform process, infrastructure bottlenecks, FDI (especially in multi-brand retail, insurance, telecom), etc.
  • Global politics: Arab Revolutions, Syrian crisis, Israel-Palestine imbroglio, rise of Turkey, Korean peninsula, Iranian nuke plans and P+1 deal, aggressive Chinese policy in Far East and SE Asia, terrorism in Afghanistan & Pakistan, political developments in Russia, and South Sudan crisis. 
  • National politics & social issues: Rise of AAP as a political alternative (is it for real?), recent Assembly elections, Naxalism, freedom of speech & social networking curbs, menace of corruption & Lokpal bill movement, gender related issues, including women empowerment and safety issues. 

 (e) Work-related 
  • One's work profile, industry profile, info about companies you worked for, learning from work, etc.

(f) Also, work on 
  • Why management career, why MBA, alternate career plan, what other calls, which school will you join.
Be passionate. Work hard. Keep learning!

(Read The Explainer: FDI)

13 January 2014

A Big Promise to Keep

I have been very lazy in blogging. From today, there will be at least one post every two days. It is a promise I am sure I will live up to. Let's begin this blog's new year with two interesting reads.
  • How India managed to defeat polio. (BBC)
In a vast country of more than a billion people who are culturally, economically, linguistically and socially diverse, "micro-plans" helped because they tossed up precious data about the specifics of a particular place - areas to be covered by each vaccination team on each day of the immunisation campaign, names and designations of the vaccinators, supervisors and community workers assigned to the area along with the vaccine, logistics distribution plan and so on.
Can you imagine the promoter of a listed private sector company arm-twisting it to sell its products below cost to his favourite charity? Or asking it to buy shares in a group firm or demanding big dividends whenever he was short of cash?
You probably can’t, because this would have investors coming down on him like a tonne of bricks and regulators hauling him up for bad corporate governance. Yet, such promoter behaviour is par for the course in listed public sector companies in India.
Video: Bloomberg on why gold prices may rise 12% this year.

The second part of The Explainer: The Sri Lankan Ethnic Conflagration will appear this weekend. Read Part I.