DeTweetify

There's no such word but I'm making a prediction that in 2010, someone somewhere will coin and use this word. huh! I love web 2.0. I can write whatever I want and get away with it too!!!

Here's my take on what DeTweetify will come to mean : DeTweetify will be defined on the lines of DeSeasonalize. Since Twitter activity sometimes produces spikes in sales/reputation/etc., you'd want to deseasonlize (or detweetify) your data to reveal the underlying trend!

Btw, it just so happens that a homonym 'DeTweet' does exist - see below (also see Urban Dictionary for similar fancy words)
Detweet

On Twitter, the passing along the tweet of another with some degree of disapproval. It can range from strong (that’s a lie) to mild (there are exceptions or conditions). It shouldn’t be taken as impolite or unfriendly - it’s done in the spirit of twitterville - as a new way to participate in the conversation. Done by adding 'DeTweet' or 'DT' before repeated post.
I thought his tweet was untrue, so I'm DeTweeting it to let others know they shouldn't believe it.


The new paradigm of customer decision-making process

The customer decision making process for purchase as taught in b-schools (Remember Consumer Behavior 101!! ):




The real life new paradigm of customer decision making process for purchase:



Source - KD Paine

Multivariate Testing and Blue Elephants

Here's how wikipedia describes Multivariate Testing:

"Multivariate testing is usually employed in order to ascertain which content or creative variation produces the best improvement in the defined goals of a website, whether that be user registrations or successful completion of a checkout process (that is, conversion rate). Dramatic increases can be seen through testing different copy text, form layouts and even landing page images and background colours."

The RDE framework as described in the book "Selling Blue Elephants" by Howard Moskowitz is:

"RDE is a systematized solution-oriented business process of experimentation that designs, tests, and modifies alternative ideas, packages, products, or services in a disciplined way so that the developer and marketer discover what appeals to the customer, even if the customer can’t articulate the need, much less the solution!"

So you see the connection now!


After listening to what Malcolm Gladwell has to say about Howard Moskowitz in this video....I couldn't resist buying the book and neither would you!!

Collaborative Innovation Optimization

{I wrote this for a term-paper - so, please excuse me for the pedantic tone.}
The growth of internet and increasing usage of social web for sharing knowledge has completely changed the way people view the role of collaboration in business and life. Of late collaborative culture has also started playing a pivotal role in innovation. Online collaborative tools have not only empowered internal resources of a company to collaborate more efficiently but also made it possible for companies to harness the creativity of outside world for innovation.

To utilize the power of collaborative innovation, many firms have implemented internal and external online collaborative networks without understanding how these initiatives align with their business goals. The key is to understand that different kinds of collaboration models suit different needs. Two important aspects of a collaborative network are governance and participation. Governance can be hierarchical (H) or flat (F) and participation can be open (O) or closed (C).  A 4-model collaborative innovation framework proposed by Pisano and Verganti in an HBR article (link1) can be very helpful for firms looking for guidance in this area. A firm can use this framework to identify suitable collaboration channels that align with its business objectives. Depending on a firm’s expertise in knowledge domain, ability to pick up experts, willingness to share intellectual property etc., one of the four models from the framework can be applied. The 4 models are – Elite circle (H+C), Innovation Mall (H+O), Innovation Community (F+O) and Consortium (F+C).


One of these models, Innovation Community is especially interesting. It represents open-flat network where anybody can propose problems, offer solutions and decide which solutions to use. This is the model that gives the maximum power and freedom to firms in harnessing ideas from anywhere in the world. However, because of its free-for-all structure, it has the potential to generate massive volume of data and is expensive to manage. It’ll be more difficult to extract useful ideas from innovation communities in near future when the amount of data on internet starts doubling every 72 hours (link2). This trend has far reaching implications on the future of collaborative innovation since the data generated by collaborative web will constitute a large part of this massive volume of data. One of the implications is the emergence of content curators (link3), who expertise in facilitating collaborative innovation.


Looking at BIG’s (Big Idea Group) business model in this light, we see that BIG, in some ways, is actually a content curator for collaborative innovation. It curates data from people who have ideas to share but do not have skills to make their ideas presentable and maybe do not know how to connect with firms that might find commercial value for their ideas. It’s not that the firms looking for ideas are not available on collaborative web to network with individuals. It’s just that removing noise and getting to valuable innovative ideas on collaborative web is itself a difficult task. BIG has positioned itself as an expert in this field. The expertise to extract innovative ideas from tetrabytes of data is an industry in itself and BIG is uniquely positioned in this space. Additionally, BIG’s 6 step process of taking an idea from its draft version to concept selling involves collaboration with idea owner at each step - perfect collaborative innovation in action.


I think one of the most challenging tasks in making collaborative innovation successful is finding creative ways of attracting and motivating right set of participants. We need to evolve a set of guidelines for “Collaborative Innovation Optimization” something on the lines of “Social Media Optimization” (link4 - Rohit Bhargava’s blog). Taking a cue from Rohit’s guidelines for SMO, a few items for CIO could be:
  1. Provide mechanism for different levels of collaboration (for instance people who do not have time for writing elaborate blogs do participate on micro-blogging and tagging sites; collaborative innovation networks can benefit from similar approach)
  2. Evolve structure as the network grows. (It makes sense to have an open-flat innovation community initially to generate traction but this same strategy could be detrimental in retaining experts when the community grows. Network should adapt as the volume grows)
  3. Get communities connected (make it easy for participants to leverage their contents across different innovation communities and help them build their individual microbrands)

Disruptive Innovation


{I wrote this for a term-paper - so, please excuse me for the pedantic tone.}

It’s quite intuitive to believe that established companies with a wealth of resources and talent are better equipped to innovate. However, we have all seen how successful companies – who in many cases also constantly add innovative features to their products – fail miserably while new start-ups take over. How do we explain this apparent paradox? Professor Christensen of HBS in  his book "Innovator's Dilemma" explains this paradox by providing a very insightful distinction between the different kinds of innovations that established companies and newcomers engage in. Sustaining innovations (incremental) are pioneered by established companies while disruptive ones (radical) by newcomers.




Apparently, the management principles that make a company successful in the first place are also responsible for preventing it from engaging in disruptive innovation. Whether it’s “customer-driven enhancements” or “ignorance of smaller and non-existent markets” or “blind focus on core competencies” or “overshooting” – they all create a culture that’s not conducive to disruptive innovation. On the other hand, a start-up does not suffer from any of these. It focuses on niche areas and tries to capture a small or non-existent market by experimenting with new ideas; all necessary inputs for disruptive innovation.

Even though, the recommendations to manage disruptive innovations offered by Professor C make good sense and I’m sure would help established companies deal with disruptive innovations in more creative ways, I still believe that the reason why they cannot compete with start-ups is not just strategy or the lack of it. I’ll try to explain my reasoning using an analogy:

Winning the disruptive innovation game is a lot like winning a jackpot lottery. You can marginally increase your chances of winning by buying several tickets but because of the sheer number of lottery tickets that are sold…it’s almost impossible to predict who’ll win. Of course someone will win and most probably an unknown man (start-up) from Silicon Valley. However, when we compare him with this rich guy (established company) who bought 200 tickets and still won only 10 dollars, we tend to ignore the fact that there are 5 hundred thousand other people (start-ups) who couldn’t make the cut. The sure shot way for an established company to win would be to buy all lottery tickets but that wouldn’t make much economic sense and so there’s not much they can do unless of course Professor C comes up with a statistically insightful way of winning a jackpot!


I think Oracle and Cisco are two companies that have safely guarded their territory by in- house R&D and aggressively eating the smaller fishes. They are always on top of things. Anyone who does anything remotely related to their areas gets acquired soon. I’m not sure how easy it is for other companies to follow these guys but they really seem to know how to manage (and capture!!) innovation in their respective fields.


Frequency Capping 2

The Atlas study reveals 2 very important aspects of ad exposure optimization:

1. There is no one-size-fits-all model for frequency capping. So, the advertisers who have been using 3-exposure-in-short-time mantra have been losing on either conversion volume or return on marketing investment.

The long tail of conversion frequencies













2. Most efficient frequency may not be the most profitable frequency. 

Freq.
Cumulative Conversion
CPA
1
25%
$29.58
2
40%
$33.56
3
52%
$37.40
4
60%
$41.22
5
67%
$44.21
6
71%
$47.34
7
75%
$49.89
8
79%
$52.19
9
81%
$54.24
10
84%
$56.06
11
86%
$57.56
12
88%
$58.83
13
90%
$60.17
14
91%
$61.31
15
92%
$62.26



Frequency Capping

For several decades advertisers concentrated their spending on commercials with the goal of reaching at least 3 ad exposures within short time periods (referred to as a frequency strategy). The inspiration behind 3-exposures-in-short-time came from a psychological theory proposed by Herbert Krugman in 1965 who suggested that the first impression of a an unfamiliar product or brand may still be confusing to the audience. Only the second impression can bring clarity and be noticed in order to have a positive effect on purchase behavior. However, starting with the 3rd or 4th impression already, the additional impact may be diminished or 0. The very smart ROI driven marketers didn't waste much time in figuring out that 3 was their lucky (optimum!)  number.

However, Atlas (now a part of Microsoft) found a flaw in the theory while conducting a study in 2003. Their study report "Optimal Frequency - the impact of frequency on conversion rate" is available here for download. I'll write more about this study in my next post. Atlas claims that it has been able to leverage its excellent capabilities in "frequency capping" for gaining competitive advantage - that explains how important "frequency capping" is for digital advertising.

WOMMA, IAB and WFA


WOMMA, IAB and WFA are three coalition bodies that have, in the recent past, produced guidelines for defining and measuring social media marketing. The most up-to-date WOM metrics guidebook was released by WOMMA in November this year. A similar set of guidelines were released by IAB in May 2009 but I think WOMMA covers many more things than what IAB does. Maybe they cater to different audiences and have different goals. I specially like the WOMMA Terminology framework. It provides a great way of looking at the big picture and helps you in connecting the dots. As per the terminology framework - Every 'word of mouth' marketing tactic (WOM Episode) can be defined by two attributes: object and qualities. And every tactic has one of these 5 actions associated with it :  who, how, what, where, result. You put all of that together in a nice table and you can see the complete WOM (of which social media is  a part; in fact social media can be loosely called online WOM) system in one shot. Isn't that great? Additionally, the metrics guidebook builds on this framework and adds the much debated ROI part to it.


WOMMA - Word of Mouth Marketing Association
IAB - Interactive Advertising Bureau
WFA - World Federation of Advertisers

Lost in translation

According to a study by the Microsoft Advertising Institute, 94% of touch points in today’s “last click model” are thrown away and not given any credit for a sale. Several of these touchpoints include interaction in social networks and social media channels. This is perhaps one of the main reasons why Social Media hasn't recieved its due credit among ROI hungry business tycoons. Well the ROI is indeed there, it just gets lost in translation!!


Lost in translation is the marketing concept dating from 1898 known as the “purchase funnel”, in which consumers follow a path of Awareness, Interest, Desire, and Action (AIDA). Certain channels, like out-of-home and television, build awareness and interest while others—such as direct mail or point-of-sale—excel at turning prospects into customers. The same concepts exist online with broad reach portals and ad networks building awareness, online video and rich media excelling at branding, and search serving as the greatest deal-closing invention since the Yellow Pages.

Is Razorfish FEED09 really insightful??

Razorfish came up with its FEED09 report recently. I reported the bottom line from the report in my previous post. Here's some analysis:

If you take a step back and look at the findings, are they really insightful? I mean, isn't it common sense that people look forward to deals. Look at the popularity of deals2buy.com or better take a walk in any of the shopping malls - you'll always find people flocking shops with the biggest deals. You don't need focused groups or cutting edge market research to figure that out. What's really insightful is that 65% people have reported that digital marketing influenced their purchase decision. That's a big number and should be a warning for people who are yet to embrace the power of digital marketing.

Here's an interesting take on FEED09 by Mike Moran of Biznology Blog


Why? Why would otherwise intelligent people find this simple idea repulsive? Well, I would posit that it is too simple. You see, there is so much theory and lofty philosophizing about social media's execution and impact, that when you get to the core idea of giving people a deal it sounds so...pedestrian. How dare people pare down the wonder and mystery of social media and online interaction to the idea that people want a deal. It can't be, can it? Yup, it can and it is.

FEED09 - The 2009 Razorfish Digital Brand Experience Report

Chek out The Bottom Line on FEED09 website. FEED is a high profile digital brand experience report published by Razorfish every year. Some interesting findings of the report are:

  • 65% of consumers report that a digital brand experience has changed their opinion (either positively or negatively) about a brand or the products and services a brand offers.
  • 97%—a near-unanimous majority—report that a digital brand experience has influenced whether or not they then went on to purchase a product or service from a brand.
  • 64% of consumers have made a first purchase from a brand because of a digital experience such as a web site, microsite, mobile coupon, or email. No other medium has so impacted—or altered—the traditional marketing funnel this way.
If those numbers are anything to go by, man...digital marketing will rule the world!!



Indian VC Investment Dilemma

This is for the enterprising Indian guys and girls - It's exceptionally difficult to get seed or angel funding for your startups. Check out this post from Sampad Swain in which he talks about the Indian VC investment dilemma. I got a similar first hand experience when I met many VCs at TiE-ISB networking event in Hyderbad recently.

Pushing The Truth Behind Building A Community

Pushing The Truth Behind Building A Community: "
Do companies really want to build communities or do they just want to sell you stuff?
There is no straight answer to this question. The truth is, there are companies who are genuine and really do want to build a community, and then there are those who think they want to build a community but are really just looking for any opening to hit you with a sales pitch. If you want to push that truth even further, most companies lie somewhere in the middle - they sincerely want to build community, but only if that community eventually leads to a sale.
And, who can blame them?
Take a look at any real-world community. Is it run by a business or is the business one of the many functions (or cogs in the wheel) that serve a community? It might sound like some kind of semantic debate, but it's an important distinction to identify and think about - especially if your business is just beginning to look at how engage in any of the many online communities. Much of the regular jabber you hear about building an online community for a business is the usual relationship-building advice: everything from taking your time to earning your place in the community to constantly providing value and understanding your role within the community that you're either creating or engaging in.
But, there's something more.
You can't build a community after you need it. It has to be there (and it has to be solid) when you need it. So, when do you need it? That's the point, you never know. As more and more companies let their Blog lapse, ease off on opening up on Twitter or gently step away from their Facebook page because they currently don't have any campaigns in market, what they're not realizing is that the community will not just wait around for them. That "community" will move on, and in doing so will heavily divested in the brand. Some consumers might even feel used.
You have to start it. You have to keep at it.
There is tons of online chatter about being relevant to your community and about really embracing not just the content you are publishing as a company, but the context. None of that will matter if you are not consistent with your frequency and pace. It can't just heat up when you need some sales and then dissipate when you're not selling your wares. It's also hard to build that community today when you really needed it yesterday.
Now, more than ever, is the right time to sit down with your team members and start talking about a real strategy to engage, create and nurture an online community - one that's always there... not just for when you need it.

Possible models for Freakonomics 3

Possible models for Freakonomics 3: "

The sequel is already assured of box-office success, so now's the time to start thinking about what's gonna be in volume 3. Here are a few models that Levitt and Dubner could consider, in no particular order:

Paul Krugman: Used to be an equal-opportunity offender, wrote an earlier book slamming industrial-policy-style Democrats and took gratuitous swipes at liberal icons such as John Kennneth Galbraith. In recent years has shifted to a partisan line and pretty much only criticizes Democrats for not being partisan or Keynesian enough. But he's kept his credibility by tying his opinions to his acknowledged expertise on macroeconomics. Being a micro-econ, incentive-empahsizing version of Krugman seems like a real possibility for Levitt. Maybe he could start at Slate magazine and work his way up from there. Levitt's location at the University of Chicago could help him to this end--if he's short of op-ed-worthy topics, he could talk with his colleagues in the economics and sociology departments to get ideas. But first he's gotta decide whether he has policy objectives he'd like to push, or if he'd rather just focus on telling interesting stories.

Malcolm Gladwell: Careful to spread his targets. Generally takes a liberal line but isn't averse to the occasional contrarian stance. Keeps one step ahead of the curve: willing to be make mistakes, he's also likely to be interesting. When he's on top of his game, Gladwell doesn't follow the zeitgeist, he is the zeitgeist. I don't know that Levitt could become a Gladwell even if he wanted do, and, well, if Dubner could be a Gladwell, he wouldn't have needed Levitt.

Tyler Cowen: Freakonomics without the statistics. Interesting and fun speculation. Lack of data analysis paradoxically makes him less vulnerable to attack: he's only claiming to be interesting, not to be necessarily correct. Has an ideological stance but mixes things up a bit; you don't always know what's coming next. Cowen's distinguishing feature: he doesn't just have an opinion on everything, he has thoughts on everything. If Levitt wants to go in this direction, he'll have to take blogging a lot more seriously. Posting every day isn't enough; he also needs to be willing to seriously engage with others in open debate.

Greg Mankiw: A unabashed partisan. With a clear low-taxes stance, he can make his points without needing to be cute or do the 'I used to be a liberal until...' gambit. Not a bad way to go at all if you have strong convictions that you're willing to stand by. The go-to guy for reasoned conservative economic arguments. For Levitt to go this route, I think he'd want to set up a base in one of his research areas and go from there. For example, he could become an advocate for community policing, or charter schools, or whatever. (I don't think it's enough to pick a lightweight issue such as legalization of drugs; it's gotta be something that closer to the center of political debate. And, no, becoming a climate-change activist won't work; to become a Mankiw, Levitt has to write about something that he (Levitt) is an expert on.)

Steven Landsburg: Tyler Cowen's style without the thoughtfulness. Good writer but clearly takes his positions ahead of time and then follows up with whatever arguments are at hand. Warning to Levitt and Dubner: this is a path you really don't want to take.

Tim Harford: What Steven Landsburg might have been were he not so ideological. Not really an option for Levitt/Dubner, though: Harford is the sort of person who might write about Levitt's work; it would be a strange step for Levitt to move from original research to explication. I mean, sure, people do it all the time, but I think it would destroy Levitt's brand for him to shift from 'brilliant rogue economist' to 'excellent economics journalist.' On the other hand, this is the past of least resistance as suggested by the direction taken in many of the chapters of Freakonomics 2. Again, the difficulty is that it's hard to see why Levitt would want to do this, and it's hard to see that Dubner could do it on his own.

E. O. WIlson: Another path for a public intellectual. While making occasional forays into hot-button issues (if not actual punditry), he's covered his back by doing universally-respected scientific work. In many ways, this is the route that Levitt has already been taking. He might consider dropping the Freakonomics blog, not because it's taking too much of his time--I suspect he's a better organizer of his days than I am--but because the silly things on the blog might very well be diluting his well-deserved high reputation as a scholar. Really, he could just spend the next 10 years of his career following up on stuff he's already done and he'd be fine.

James Heckman: Lots of controversy, but all about academic matters and mostly below the waterline. Blows his top all the time in private settings but is much more careful in his public pronouncements. Levitt could possibly follow this path if he were to focus more on deepening some of his major research efforts.

Why do I keep writing about this? Some of it is the fascination of watching a slow-motion train wreck. And, as usual, blogging has the irresistible attraction that it takes the place of working, a similar activity that requires much more effort. Beyond this, much of my interest in following Levitt, or Mankiw, or Krugman, is that their career paths are so similar to mine. They represent alternative paths for my own life. To put it another way, when quantitative social scientists get in trouble, well, that hits close to home.

Another way to say this is that controversy sells books. And with controversy you're likely to piss somebody off. It's extremely rare to be a Stephen Hawking and sell lots of books while remaining universally respected in your field. You're more likely to be a Stephen J. Gould and be hated by some. In that sense, Levitt and Dubner got incredibly lucky the first time round, with all the money and the fame and little of the backlash. But it's hard to keep that sort of thing going forever.

Future Knowledge Ecosystems

Here's an interesting read from Institute for the Future. It's about the future of technology-led economic development. I was introduced to this amazing resource, IFTF, for the first time by our IT prof. in Term-I. Hope you find it useful.

plastic jesus

moved to other blog

A Tribute to George Carlin

moved to other blog

Get Over it Neo...

moved to other blog

Suggested Reading for MBAs and those who are about to start school

Here's a list of suggested readings from GmatClub

Books Recommended and the Number of Recommendations
Assembled by bb on 3/19/09 - to be continued

Finance Books
1. Blue Blood and Mutiny: The Fight for the soul of Morgan Stanley
2. Handbook of Corporate Finance: A Business Companion to Financial Markets, Decisions and Techniques
3. Banker to the Poor - book about the Grameen Bank and microfinance in the third world, and delves into how capitalism and the free market can be harnessed to return value to vulnerable communities x3
4. Liar's poker - a bit dated but its gives you a sweet intro to the S&T world x2
5. Ugly Americans (HFs)
6. When Markets Collide
7. Damn it feels good to be a banker - And Other Baller Things You Only Get to Say If You Work On Wall Street x2 - by Leveraged Sellout (it looks brilliant if it's the same quality as the blog)

Economics Books
1. Travels of a T-shirt - is pretty fun, written by a prof at georgetown - she explores the global economy (and the institutions that govern it) by following the creation, life, and death of your average t-shirt.
2. The World is Flat - Do not Buy
3. Passionate Economist
4. The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business is Selling Less of More
5. The End of Poverty - Harvard Alum and Professor at Columbia's Global Earth Institute, Sachs presents interesting, simple (perhaps even common sense) solutions to tackling the following obsctackes we will face in the upcoming century namely: the environment, poverty (extreme - less than $1-2/day) and population growth (in the poorest countries).
6. Common Wealth - regarding Jeffrey Sachs - as someone who works in international development, I'd like to point out that for all his popularity among the general public, most people working in the field think a lot of his "big ideas" are sheer lunacy. Particularly the idea of a "big push" to massively increase the amount of official development aid to developing-world governments. He's a very smart guy, and End of Poverty (as well as Common Wealth) are both interesting books with a lot of good information - but the policy prescriptions they contain are totally off the mark.
7. The White Man's Burden - t provides an outstanding analysis of not only successes and failures of trying to develop the third world, but at lot of it also applies to life in general (politics, economics, society, etc).
8. The Forgotten Man
9. The Chicago School - For those thinking about going to Chicago and going to economics
10. Vienna and Chicago, Friends or Foes? - For those thinking about going to Chicago and going to economics

Leadership Books
1. A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future
2. We need Managers, Not MBAs - It's a scathing look at MBAs. If anyone reads this again, please keep an eye out for the part where he reveals the statistics that something like 70% of MBAs quit their jobs within two years of graduating (suggesting that the vast majority pick "wrong"). I cant find the exact stats anymore, so please, if you see it, take note of the page

Behavioral Books Books
1. Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking - There's a little pop psychology to it, but it has some interesting insights.
2. Fooled by Randomness
3. Outliers - Malcolm Gladwell: I had thought about many of the theories he exposes way before this came out, but it's still an interesting/easy/quick read.
4. Predictably Irrational - is by a fuqua prof that is a total boy genius. it's behavioral econ.
5. Why We Buy - if you have any interest in running a business that is consumer-facing (CPG, banking, retail, restaurants, the post office) this is a must-read. or if you just wanna know why the bananas are where they are in the grocery store. Behavioral Econ.

Investment Banking Books
1. More than Money by Mark Albion - No, its not a rant against banking - he says thats the right path for some - but it is a very real depiction of MANY MBA attitudes and it will make you consider your goals. Frankly, in retrospect, this short book is probably the single most important thing I could have read before getting my MBA. It so accurately captures exactly what so many of us have thought or felt at some point - about jobs, about money, about careers - I virtually promise that it will resonate with you at some level. Its also worth noting its a short and easy read.
2. Tearing Down the Walls: How Sandy Weill Fought His Way to the Top of the Financial World. . .and Then Nearly Lost It All - to all future investment bankers
3. Monkey Business - which was a very quick read that provides an interesting look into the IB landscape in recent times. x2
4. Barbarians at the Gate - really is a must read. I thought it was great and included all of the major Wall Street legends, Kravis, Wasserstein, Fortsman, Lipton, etc. x2
5. Risk Takers
6.Pioneering Portfolio Management
7. The accidental investment banker - Jonathan Knee - pretty funny; give you a very good idea over the Ibank world. Not great though.
8. Den of Thieves - well-researched book that brings up a number of scandals involving Michael Milken, Ivan Boesky, Martin Siegel, and others
9. 21. When Genius Failed

Accounting Books
1. The Portable MBA in Finance and Accounting

Marketing Books
Why We Shop: The Science of Shopping" by Paco Underhill. I found it very interesting especially for those with an interest in CPG, brand management, marketing, retail and even consulting. Its a quick read and very entertaining. I definitely find myself thinking differently every time I walk into a store now.

Management Books
1. How Would You Move Mount Fuji?: Microsoft's Cult of the Puzzle -- How the World's Smartest Companies Select the Most Creative Thinkers - to all future Management Consultants...
2. The Halo Effect:... and the Eight Other Business Delusions That Deceive Managers - Wow! Good book. It pretty much blows apart a lot of the analysis people do to find out what makes a company "successful".

International Relations and Policy Books
1. confessions of an economic hit man
2. Rise and Fall of Empires
3. Shock Doctrine - Naomi Klein: Must read. it opened my mind to sooo many things. please go read it, it gets long but towards the end it's amazing.
4. Creating a World Without Poverty: Social Business and the Future of Capitalism - Sixty percent of the world's population live on 6% of the world's income. The author argues that capitalism, if it accepts a social conscience out of self-preservation, can eventually develop a world where poverty is on the decline.
5. The Post American World - By far one of the most accessible poly-sci books around. Zakaria presents brutally honest opinions on the state of the U.S. in contrast to the rest of the World. He brings forth the challenges that face the U.S. and the world in the 21st century. Good read, not heavy at all.
6. No Logo is a bit dated but a lovely attack on globalization. if i weren't already too old, i'd grow up to be naomi klein.

Career and Networking Books
1. Ahead of the Curve x2 - best book I've read on business school - more specifically HBS - looking at a top bschool from the pov of a non-business candidate gave me an amazing idea of the whole thing.
2. Never Eat Alone - Its a great book about the power of networking and how to build a strong network

Green Books
1. Hot, Flat, and Crowded - which is about why we need a green revolution. While i'm just 1/3 of the way through, it's excellent so far... He's got some hard facts scientifically, politically, and economically about why we need to care about our planet and makes it easier for me to explain to another layperson why we need a green revolution.
2. Green to Gold by Daniel Esty x2

IT and Operations
1. Black Swan - not recommended (I read part of the book when it came out but just got sick of it and never finished. If true "black swan" events by definition cannot be predicted or foreseen in any way, what's the point of it?)
2. The Goal - is something you'll probably read in your ops class. the best textbook ever, the worst novel ever. i'm a closet ops geek, so i dug it.

Poker and Gambling Books
1. Harrington on Hold 'em Expert Strategy for No Limit Tournaments - Dan Harrington
2. Read 'em and reap 'em
3. Bringing down the house

Fiction and Other
1. The prince - Niccolo Machiavelli: I don't know why but I recently picked it up and it's full of pretty interesting stuff. It is not about business but it gives you an idea of how Power was seen in the 1500.
2. Guns, Germs, and Steel - overview of Human Civilization, focusing on the question why Eurasians took over other continents rather than inhabitants of other continents - a bit repetitive but a good read - a lot of interesting information
3. Nathan McCall's Them - t's an interesting read, and a great book to invoke discussion amongst peers who view the world differently.
4. 9. A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier - (not for the faint-hearted; story of a young boy in Africa). A diary/journal of sorts of a young boy who escaped the "recruitment" of rebels in Sierra Leone. Witness of death and consumed by drugs at a young age, he manages to escape through a very graphic yet inspiring story. Now in the U.S.
5. The snowball - Biography about Warren Buffet - I got this one as a present and thought it would be amazing, however I still haven't really started loving it (ive read around 25% of it- its looong) but I guess if you like biographies then you'll like it. x2
6. The Last Tycoons - “Cohan's thoroughness—he interviewed over 100 current and former bankers and assorted bigwigs—unearths a trove of colourful titbits, many quite racy . . . Illuminating are Mr. Cohan’s descriptions of the scheming, politicking, and general dysfunction that was Lazard.”
—Economist
7. Atlas Shrugged - the last and best of Ayn Rand's books - beware 1,000 pages and not really a travel size.

Damned Lies and Statistics!!

moved to other blog

Getting back here...


Ecosystem...

moved to other blog

Entrepreneurial resources at IIMC

1. Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (CEI)
The Centre for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (CEI) at IIMC is an initiative to achieve greater understanding of this process as well as stimulate its development for societal benefit. CEI’s vision is to be acknowledged as a program of international renown, where students, faculty, alumni, industry and policy makers collaborate, learn and innovate. The team comprises of faculty from different functional areas and disciplines. The Centre is currently led by Prof. Anjan Raichaudhri and headed by a core team of student representatives.


2. Entrepreneurship Cell (E-Cell)
The Entrepreneurship Cell of India’s premier B-school, IIM Calcutta, continues to promote the vision of spreading entrepreneurship with enthusiastic passion. The club renowned for organizing international B-school events maintains the tradition by organizing its flagship event Ascent’08 a manifestation of the fact that Entrepreneurship as a career is spreading rapidly in Business Schools of India.


3. Yearly Entrepreneurship Summit
The Centre for Entrepreneurship & Innovation at IIM Calcutta, in association with National Entrepreneurship Network (NEN), organizes Annual Entrepreneurship Summit every year starting from 2007 in the IIM Calcutta campus. The main objective of the event is to create awareness among students about entrepreneurship, create synergy between academia and the practitioners, and align entrepreneurship with management education. The speakers for the event include eminent entrepreneurs and stalwarts from the industry. It is expected to be attended by several faculty and heads of institutes and hundreds of students from across the country.


4. Business Plan Competition - i2I
The Annual International Business School Meet of IIM Calcutta is widely recognized as the Largest Business School Meet in India.



Other resources for budding Entrepreneurs:

1. Indian Angel Network
2. NEN
3. Indavest
4. Your Story
5. The Indus Entrepreneurs (TIE)
6. IDG Ventures India
7. StartupCentral
8. VentureWoods


If anyone has a comprehensive list of Business Plan Competitions held in India, could you please share that with me. I will update this post with your list. It'll be very useful to have that kind of info in one place.

What to do during your MBA

An interesting read about what to do as one goes thru an MBA program. I found it here.

What to do during your MBA

As You Begin….


Write down your goals: What are the top 3-5 things you want to accomplish during your B-School run? Review these goals regularly – hang them on your wall or keep it in your planner.

Get organized: If you do not already have one, get yourself a Palm Pilot, Treo, or paper-based system (Franklin Planner) to keep track of your (1) schedule, (2) rolodex, and (3) to do list. The rolodex is especially important – as you meet people (classmates, interviewers, professors, alumni), enter them in so you have record. Entering their names also will enhance your ability to remember them – repetition is the mother of skill.

Keep your resume up to date at all times! There is no official “resume season” – you could be asked for it at anytime, and failure to present one may preclude you from a great opportunity. Before you get knee-deep in classes, add your last experience to your resume if you haven’t already.

It’s all about Networking….

Get good at small talk: The best way to engage someone in small talk is to (1) remember their name when they tell you and (2) ask them questions. I always have four questions ready to go for anyone I meet:
– What is your name?
– Where are you from?
– Where do you/have you worked?
– Where are you living? (on campus/off campus)
Any of these four questions can lead you to “Level 2” questions: For example – “where are you from” leads to things like “I’ve never been there – what is it like?” or “did you like living there?” or “sounds like paradise on earth – do you want to return there?” etc.

Meet, Greet, and Meet Some More: Meet as many people as you can. Even if you do not regularly socialize with them, you will be surprised how your former classmates will welcome an email from you 10 years down the road, even if they barely remember you.

Keep Your Guard Up: One of the things I learned from my 1st year Negotiation class is that there are two broad sets of negotiators: Givers (“Pie Makers”) and Takers (“Zero Summers”). Givers are people with loads of integrity and are willing to work with you to create a bigger pie before negotiating on how to divvy it up. Zero Summers are in it for themselves; their sole purpose is to take as much as they can off the table. When a giver negotiates with another giver, there is huge potential for mutual benefit, but when a giver negotiates with a taker, the giver gets royally hosed every time. If you are, by nature, a giver, be very wary of the takers. (I typically assume someone is a taker until they prove they are giver.)

Don’t Become a Social Outcast: You are going to meet plenty of people who are just plain intimidating (Perhaps, you will recognize these people by the fact that they are going to pull up in Mercedes/BMW’s, talk about the CEOs they play golf with, and come from esteemed families/social circles). But there are plenty of people there who DO have things in common with you. Also, your social circles will develop over time, so don’t get freaked out if by the end of September, you have not found a group to hang out with.

Watch the Gossip: This probably won’t be an issue for you, but there will be plenty of opportunities (usually around beers) to make fun of people based on their classroom comments or other social gaffes. Try not to participate – it has a habit of coming back around, and you never know when you will have to work with that person on a team project.

Sometimes You Gotta Force Yourself: If you find yourself not feeling like going to a meeting, extracurricular, company brief, or social function, go anyway. I can’t tell you how many times I have dreaded going to one of these functions only to have learned something important or to have met someone that helped me down the road.

Today’s Professors are Tomorrow’s Colleagues: Meet your professors, get to know them. They value you – you keep them young and energized. Down the road, you will want to network with them. I did a horrible job of this.

The Classroom….

Go to Class: Not sure how classroom participation works at Berkeley, but at HBS it was a significant portion of the grade. Regardless, go to class – you will learn more that way. And don’t show up late – it is unprofessional and you will look bad – very bad. If it came down to being late or not going at all, I chose not going at all.

Recognize that you bring value to the table: Don’t be intimidated (as I was) by the I-bankers and Management Consultants. They will have really good, strategic work experience. But you have an equally relevant base of knowledge and experience. You have the advantage of having worked in an operational role, and knowing what works day to day amongst people who make the strategy happen. More importantly, not many have your experience in web marketing. Use these as your base.

Learn the jargon: You will find that the consultants and I-bankers will come in with a certain level of business savvy that you do not have (and I did not have going in to HBS). These people have operated at a more strategic level than you; learn from them. Listen how they talk and write down phrases you hear that sound good. Also write down phrases that sound equally ridiculous – you may be able to start a game of Business Bingo or even write a B-School comedy.

Have fun learning new stuff: You are paying a lot of money for this – focus less on grades, and more on learning.

Leverage other people’s knowledge: Form a study group with people with diverse backgrounds. Aside from the learning aspects, it is a good way to socialize.

Get the Wall Street Journal: Read it everyday, even if only for 15 minutes over coffee – it is the best way to get educated on business, and gives you tidbits to contribute to conversations in and out of class.

The Future….

View yourself as your own business: You officially work for YOU Inc. You are your own business. Figure out what things interest you (e.g. web marketing), and become THE expert on it. Then find opportunities (not necessarily “jobs”) where you can leverage your expertise. There will be times in the upcoming years where these opportunities will take the form of a job. Other times, these opportunities may take the form of a consulting/freelance role. Ultimately, these opportunities lead to the development of new skills and expertise, which open up a whole new set of opportunities.

Don’t settle for a job: Figure out something that interests you and go from there. I was interested in technology, I researched a couple of industries, and decided to go into telecom; I did not waste my time learning about other “hot industries” like Financial Services. Perhaps I could have made more money, but it did not interest me and I would not have been successful because I did not have the interest.

Don’t wait ‘til “interview season” to look for an opportunity: Devote time each week to learning about industries/companies/opportunities you are interested in. Get yourself a small notebook to jot down statistics or quotes that you can use in interviews, cover letters, and conversations. This is all part of the building expertise theme – you need to come across as an expert and part of that is industry knowledge.

Watch Your Burn Rate (a.k.a. Beware of Clothing Companies): In keeping with the “view yourself as your own business” theme, the #1 reason why startups fail is they run out of cash. So don’t let YOU Inc run out of cash. Rest assured, Hickey Freeman will try to sell you a $1500 suit, claiming that “you need this suit to be successful in your interviews.” Unless you are headed to Wall Street, a tailored $300-$400 suit will do you fine. The more general idea behind this is don’t do anything that unnecessarily raises your burn rate. Doing so will raise the amount you have to borrow and puts you in a deeper hole.

Organize Your Finances: Consider getting Quicken – it is a good time to get your finances organized. Also, keep good paper records around your school loans. We bought a plastic, portable file box with 2-3 accordion files to go inside – one was for our School Loans and the others were for bills, etc. Just don’t do anything to screw up your credit rating. You will need it later.

Debt Fears: Don’t worry about your debt – you will find a way to pay it off. We emerged from B-School/L-School with over $100K of debt; we paid it off, and we don’t exactly have Wall Street power jobs. (In fairness, they kinda do have big important jobs)