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Tuesday, January 29, 2008


Read “Made in America” by Sam Walton…the saga of the creation of the Worlds biggest organization….from the voice of Sam Walton himself.

This book is amazing….depicts the heart of Wal-Mart…..its technology, sophisticated distribution system, associates culture…..

Also Sam Walton has depicted himself through this book…as he broke all frontiers of success…His famous Hula dance in the Wall Street…his Saturday mornings with his associates…his fleet of little airplanes which he piloted himself….and all such stories which were instrumental in building the Wal-Mart culture.

The ideas of Sam are as entertaining as it can be…and I will like to include two lines from the book…

This one is about the basic marketing trick, which Sam asks his associates to practice

“From this day forward, I solemnly promise and declare that every time a customer comes within 10 ft of me , I will smile look him in the eye, and greet him”

This one is about having the right person at the right time

“All along the history of Wal-Mart has been marked by having the right people in the right job when we needed them the most. We had Whitaker, straight out of the get-after-it-and stay-after-it old school, to help get us started, Ferold , a methodical hardworking German, to get us organized, Ron Mayer a whiz at computers to get our systems going, Jack Shewmaker, a brilliant shoot-from-the-hip executive with a store managers mentality and David Glass who could step up in a crisis, keep his cool, and eventually get control of a company that became so big that it was hard to comprehend".

Also read “Wise and Otherwise” by Sudha Murthy….a book depicting individual instances….extremely simple book….with powerful messages in the Indian context

The third book was “Teaching the Elephant to Dance” by James Belasco….a book about Change Management….This book is informative…well researched …but somehow I felt it was too textual in nature (may be because I was reading “Made in America” also during the same time...

So that’s about the books….

Ah yes… something about ISB….Its official now…..ISB is ranked 20, in the world, by the influential Financial Times (FT)…..once again, my Alma mater has broken all records…..and this time the records are not just in the Indian context….its global….the youngest B-School to make it to these rankings (In fact, TOP 20)…ISB has indeed redefined the concept of Indian B School education….

Monday, January 21, 2008


300 posts already posted in this blog…So want my 301st post to have something special…

Let me post something, which I really liked.... This was written by EM six months back.


About twenty yrs back from today a three yrs old kid was sitting along with her grandfather in his lap in an arm chair in the porch of the verandah….JJ (Grandfather in Oriya) chair that is what we used to refer that chair as.It was his favourite chair.
Kid : JJ what does puuo mean??
JJ : It means son
Kid : Why do u call Appa as puuo??Is he ur son??
JJ : Yes, he is my puuo
Kid : Who is my puuo??
JJ : Ha ha, who do u want ur puuo to be??
Kid : Can I choose my Puuo JJ??
JJ : Yes, u can…so whom do u choose then as ur puuo??
Kid : U….u be my puuo from today JJ…will u be??
JJ : Ha ha sure my dear…but then who ll be ur JJ if I be ur puuo!!
Kid : (After some serious thot) we will shorten JJma’s name as JJ….if I need a JJ
JJ : Ha ha ha ok
And so he became my puuo from being my JJ :).He used to feed me when I used to throw tantrums and find excuses for not eating making my mother give up on me in frustration.He wud bribe me with chocolates and toys and make me drink milk and then take all the credit for accomplishing the great task.My puuo and I wud together have bitter gourd curry together…..I eating on his behalf and he on my behalf….. and the bitterness of the curry would get drowned in our laughter and togetherness. He taught me alphabets before joining school.He taught me the difference between multiplication and divison…when I could never differentiate between them.He taught me multiplication tables till 12th table and I could never learn higher than 12th table till date.And today he’s taught me cooking even :)!I wud coax him to tell me the story of his childhood and he wud willingly accept to narrate the incidents of his childhood to me umpteen number of times without getting tired of it.He wud listen to my endless ranting and answer each and every single question that I ask.He wud blackmail me saying that if I had my bath early in the morning he wud allow me to enter the puja room and have Prasad and I wud always manage to sneak in and have the Prasad without bath.And he wud behave as if he could never make out tht I had sneaked in and finished the Prasad.I wud ask him “what do u do with the Prasad when I am not around Puuo”…and he wud reply “feed it to the sparrows so that they take it to u in their beaks”!!And I wud keep searching for sparrows at my place for the Prasad.He wud say “Grow up soon dear I am getting old”…and I wud reply “Don’t worry Puuo I ll grow up soon and we will both get old together”.
Days passed and distances grew.I got tied up with studies and cud manage to meet him only once in a yr.He wud complain “U call me puuo and don’t care for ur puuo.U simply disappear”….I wud reply “No JJ!!Me really tied up.I need to secure a seat JJ.After that I promise I ll always be with u”…..he replied “Fine!!I will get it for u…will u be happy then and not worry”….It sounded like those days in my childhood when I used to cry for toys and he wud say “Fine now don’t cry I will get u toys from my secret trunk…ll u be happy then”……and I wud forget all abt the toys and secretly sit down to ransack the secret trunk when my grandfather was not around. My puuo couldn’t see me worried ever.Whenever I wud get worried abt my results my puuo wud motivate me by narrating his experience and the way he had pursued his dreams by making it to Stanford University and completed his Phd .He had taught me pursuing ur dreams is all that matters ….don’t worry abt the results…just never give up. Tears filled his eyes when I had gifted him a dhoti and kurta with my first salary.He put away the dhoti and kurta in his secret trunk as usual :)!!I wud say “Puuo come and stay with me.Then we can have lot of fun” and his reply wud always be “No my dear just like that is ur house this is my house…ur Puuo is happy in his house…Next I ll go to God’s house from here”….And I wud retort “JJ!!Don’t talk nonsense.You had promised that we ll get old together”….”Yes my dear I remember my promise. We will get old together.U and I togther.That is why I made the prev. statement”.I never understood then what he meant.But today I understand the true meaning of his statement that he had made then.He had meant he wud always be there with me in my memories and we wud together get old.Isn’t that what u meant Puuo?? :)!
Life is so strange really….we are forced to accept the rules of nature.Much as we wud love to hold on to our dear ones we know that if we do so it will only get worse.Although its painful to depart from your loved ones u will have to console urself telling that its better if they are taken care of by God in his house than they withering away infront of ur eyes.U can’t pause time…u can’t stop age.And its also strange that when ur loved ones depart its only then that all the memories of the days that u spent together surfaces and u try clinging on to them like u never did before.U get so tied up with other responsibilities in ur life that although u know u love them dearly and they are there waiting impatiently to just catch a glimpse of u ….u just don’t have the time to be with them…and the memories just lie at the back of ur mind undisturbed….u don’t have the time to re-live them.So, that is what he had meant then that he can always stay in my memories and I will realise and relive the long lost childhood days with him all over again while he watches me do so from God’s abode…..and that’s how he will watch me getting old , sitting in the JJ chair , along with him :) !Hope you are keeping a secret trunk there too in God’s house Puuo.And I am sure this time God will make sure that ur secret trunk is not ransacked by any naughty kid around. And here I will take care of your favourite chair :)!

Friday, January 04, 2008


The latest addition to my small collection of business books is “Built to Last” by Jim Collins and Jerry Porras...a relatively old management classic.

This book , though full of jargons, proved to be a good read. Even its content-list is a collection of jargons….Clock building not time telling….No “tyranny of the Or” …more than profits…preserve the core…BHAGs….cult-like cultures….try a lot of stuff and keep what works…home grown management….good enough never is….the end of the beginning…building the vision…core ideologies….core competencies…etc.

The amount of research backing this book is stupendous and evident. The methodology followed is simple… “How are visionary companies different from comparison companies” …the definition of visionary and comparison are defined in the first chapter itself. Lots and lots of companies well-described…from the day one of their birth.

Jim Collins has beautifully described a visionary company as follows...just loved it...

Visionary company…A visionary company is like a great work of Art…Think of Michelangelo’s scenes from Genesis on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel or his statue of David. Think of a great and enduring novel, like Huckleberry Finn or Crime and Punishment. Think of Beethovan’s Ninth Symphony or Shakespeare’s Henry V. Think of a beautifully designed building like the masterpieces of Frank Lloyd Wright or Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. You cannot point to any one single item that makes the whole thing work; it’s the entire work – all the pieces working together to create an overall effect – that leads to enduring greatness. And it’s not just the big pieces, but also the itty-bitty details – the turn of phrase, the change of pace at just the right moment, the perfect offcenter placement of a window, a subtle expression sculpted into the eyes.