Quest continues for....

Does Google tell it all?


On a search on some interesting words, got these many number of pages in descending order:

Life - 1,060,000,000
Love - 1,010,000,000
Sex - 423,000,000
Death - 422,000,000
Happiness - 65,000,000

Does above Google search tells you - For so many 'lives' on earth - 'Love' is closeby, 'Sex' is catching, 'Death' is following but 'Happiness' is far behind! When will love and happiness catch up with life? :)



Information overload

Exactly how much of information available today we actually use in our day to day life? Tonnes of webpages, books and CD ROMs are available today on various subjects. As a human being, we plan for future and tend to store scarce resources. Food grains, money, gold and what not. In that list, now we can add information. My laptop's harddisk shows 30% free space. Who stole my bytes? On an average, i have spent probably 5 minutes a year to delete what is not needed anymore. Classic case of information lust! How about corporates then? How much money it cost them on accumulation and storage of data which they will seldom need? And more importantly, how often the information available is utilized to make rational choice?

Seems as human beings, we have started to store as much information as we could so that it could be used/abused in unforeseeable future. Some people call it psychological value of unused data.



Finger Mantra!

Indra Nooyi is considered one of most powerful woman in the world. She has recently taken over as CEO of PepsiCo becoming first woman ever to head the cola giant. She was born in an Iyer family at Chennai, India. She received a bachelor's degree from Madras Christian College and a Post Graduate Diploma in Business Administration from the Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta and graduated from the Yale School of Management.

Here is her graduation remarks at Columbia Business School which became little controversial but they do give some words of wisdom in current global order:

Good evening, everyone.

Dean Hubbard, distinguished faculty, honored graduates, relieved parents, family, and friends, it's a distinct pleasure to be in New York City this evening to celebrate the biggest milestone to date in the lives of you, the young men and women before us: your graduation from Columbia University Business School.

It may surprise you, graduates, but as big a night as this is for you, it's an even bigger night for your parents. They may look calm and collected as they sit in the audience, but deep inside they're doing cartwheels, dancing the Macarena, and practically speaking in tongues, they're so excited. This is what happens when parents anticipate that their bank accounts will soon rehydrate after being bone-dry for two years. So, for everyone here this evening, it's a very special occasion. And I'm delighted to share it with you.

I am keenly aware that graduates traditionally refer to our time together this evening as the calm before the storm. Some graduates -- perhaps those who minored in self-awareness -- refer to the commencement address as "the snooze before the booze." However you describe my comments this evening, please know that I understand. It wasn't that long ago that I was in your place. And I remember the day well. I knew that I owed my parents -- my financial benefactors -- this opportunity to revel in our mutual accomplishment. Yet, as the guy at the podium droned on about values, goals, and how to make my dreams take flight, I remember desperately checking and rechecking my watch. I thought, "I deserve to party, and this codger's cramping my style!"

In one of life's true ironies, I am now that codger. Well...I'm the female equivalent. A codg-ette, I guess. And I now understand that values, goals, and how to make dreams take flight, really are important. So being a firm believer that hindsight is one of life's greatest teachers, allow me to make belated amends.

To that distinguished, erudite, and absolutely brilliant man whom I silently dissed many years ago: mea culpa. Big, BIG mea culpa!

This evening, graduates, I want to share a few thoughts about a topic that should be near and dear to your hearts: the world of global business. But, I'm going to present this topic in a way that you probably haven't considered before. I'm going to take a look at how the United States is often perceived in global business, what causes this perception, and what we can do about it. To help me, I'm going to make use of a model.

To begin, I'd like you to consider your hand. That's right: your hand.

Other than the fact that mine desperately needs a manicure, it's a pretty typical hand. But, what I want you to notice, in particular, is that the five fingers are not the same. One is short and thick, one tiny, and the other three are different as well. And yet, as in perhaps no other part of our bodies, the fingers work in harmony without us even thinking about them individually. Whether we attempt to grasp a dime on a slick, marble surface, a child's arm as we cross the street, or a financial report, we don't consciously say, "OK, move these fingers here, raise this one, turn this one under, now clamp together. Got it!" We just think about what we want to do and it happens. Our fingers -- as different as they are -- coexist to create a critically important whole.

This unique way of looking at my hand was just one result of hot summer evenings in my childhood home in Madras, India. My mother, sister, and I would sit at our kitchen table and -- for lack of a better phrase -- think big thoughts. One of those thoughts was this difference in our fingers and how, despite their differences, they worked together to create a wonderful tool.

As I grew up and started to study geography, I remember being told that the five fingers can be thought of as the five major continents: Europe, Asia, Africa, and North and South America. Now, let me issue a profound apology to both Australia and Antarctica. I bear neither of these continents any ill will. It's just that we humans have only five fingers on each hand, so my analogy doesn't work with seven continents.

Clearly, the point of my story is more important that geographical accuracy!

First, let's consider our little finger. Think of this finger as Africa. Africa is the little finger not because of Africa's size, but because of its place on the world's stage. From an economic standpoint, Africa has yet to catch up with her sister continents. And yet, when our little finger hurts, it affects the whole hand.

Our thumb is Asia: strong, powerful, and ready to assert herself as a major player on the world's economic stage.

Our index, or pointer finger, is Europe. Europe is the cradle of democracy and pointed the way for western civilization and the laws we use in conducting global business.

The ring finger is South America, including Latin America. Is this appropriate, or what? The ring finger symbolizes love and commitment to another person. Both Latin and South America are hot, passionate, and filled with the sensuous beats of the mambo, samba, and tango: three dances that -- if done right -- can almost guarantee you and your partner will be buying furniture together.

This analogy of the five fingers as the five major continents leaves the long, middle finger for North America, and, in particular, the United States. As the longest of the fingers, it really stands out. The middle finger anchors every function that the hand performs and is the key to all of the fingers working together efficiently and effectively. This is a really good thing, and has given the U.S. a leg up in global business since the end of World War I.

However, if used inappropriately -- just like the U.S. itself -- the middle finger can convey a negative message and get us in trouble. You know what I'm talking about. In fact, I suspect you're hoping that I'll demonstrate what I mean. And trust me, I'm not looking for volunteers to model.

Discretion being the better part of valor...I think I'll pass.

What is most crucial to my analogy of the five fingers as the five major continents, is that each of us in the U.S. -- the long middle finger -- must be careful that when we extend our arm in either a business or political sense, we take pains to assure we are giving a hand...not the finger. Sometimes this is very difficult. Because the U.S. -- the middle finger -- sticks out so much, we can send the wrong message unintentionally.

Unfortunately, I think this is how the rest of the world looks at the U.S. right now. Not as part of the hand -- giving strength and purpose to the rest of the fingers -- but, instead, scratching our nose and sending a far different signal.

I'd challenge each of you to think about how critically important it is for every finger on your hand to rise and bend together. You cannot simply "allow" the other four fingers to rise only when you want them to. If you've ever even tried to do that, you know how clumsy and uncoordinated it is.

My point here is that it's not enough just to understand that the other fingers coexist. We've got to consciously and actively ensure that every one of them stands tall together, or that they bend together when needed.

Today, as each of you ends one chapter in your young lives and begins another, I want you to consider how you will conduct your business careers so that the other continents see you extending a hand...not the finger. Graduates, it's not that hard. You can change and shape the attitudes and opinions of the other fingers -- the other continents and their peoples -- by simply ascribing positive intent to all your international business transactions. If you fail, or if you are careless, here's a perfect example of what can happen:

A U.S. businesswoman was recently in Beijing, China, on an international training assignment for a luxury hotel chain. The chain was rebranding an older Beijing hotel. As such, the toilets in the hotel had yet to be upgraded. There were no porcelain commodes, just holes in the floor. Until recently, this was the standard procedure in China.

Now, 8,000 miles removed from the scene, you and I -- and most Americans -- can shake our heads and giggle at the physical contortions and delicate motor skills necessary to make the best of this situation. We're simply not used to it. But to loudly and insultingly verbalize these feelings onsite, in front of the employees and guests of the host country, is bush league. And yet, that's exactly what this woman observed.

In the hotel's bar, the woman overheard a group of five American businessmen loudly making fun of the hotel's lavatory facilities. As the drinks flowed, the crass and vulgar comments grew louder, and actually took on an angry, jingoistic tone. While these Americans couldn't speak a word of Chinese, their Chinese hosts spoke English very well, and understood every word the men were saying.

And we wonder why the world views many Americans as boorish and culturally insensitive. This incident should make it abundantly clear. These men were not giving China a hand. They were giving China the finger. This finger was red, white, and blue, and had "the United States" stamped all over it.

Graduates, it pains me greatly that this view of America persists. Although I'm a daughter of India, I'm an American businesswoman. My family and I are citizens of this great country.

This land we call home is a most loving and ever-giving nation -- a Promised Land that we love dearly in return. And it represents a true force that, if used for good, can steady the hand -- along with global economies and cultures.

Yet to see us frequently stub our fingers on the international business and political stage is deeply troubling. Truth be told, the behaviors of a few sully the perception for all of us. And we know how often perception is mistaken for reality.

We can do better. We should do better. With your help, with your empathy, with your positive intent as representatives of the U.S. in global business, we will do better. Now, as never before, it's important that we give the world a hand...not the finger.

In conclusion, graduates, I want to return to my introductory comments this evening. I observed that as big a night as this is for you, it's an even bigger night for your parents. I ascribed their happiness to looking forward to a few more "George Washingtons" in their bank accounts. While this is certainly true, there is another reason.

Each of your parents believes that their hard work has paid off. Finally! They believe that maybe -- just maybe -- they have raised and nurtured the next Jack Welch, Meg Whitman, or Patricia Russo.

Don't disappoint them. Don't disappoint your companies. And don't disappoint yourselves.

As you begin your business careers, and as you travel throughout the world to assure America's continued global economic leadership, remember your hand. And remember to do your part to influence perception.

Remember that the middle finger -- the United States -- always stands out. If you're smart, if you exhibit emotional intelligence as well as academic intelligence, if you ascribe positive intent to all your actions on the international business stage, this can be a great advantage. But if you aren't careful -- if you stomp around in a tone-deaf fog like the ignoramus in Beijing -- it will also get you in trouble. And when it does, you will have only yourself to blame.

Graduates, as you aggressively compete on the international business stage, understand that the five major continents and their peoples -- the five fingers of your hand -- each have their own strengths and their own contributions to make. Just as each of your fingers must coexist to create a critically important tool, each of the five major continents must also coexist to create a world in balance. You, as an American businessperson, will either contribute to or take away from, this balance.

So remember, when you extend your arm to colleagues and peoples from other countries, make sure that you're giving a hand, not the finger. You will help your country, your company, and yourself, more than you will ever know.

Thank you very much.



Three Gems!

Shawshank Redemption (1994), American Beauty (1999) and American History X (1998) are some of my favourites movies. If you have seen these movies, you would find a common thread between them, the story is narrated in the background and some great acting. All three movie ends with some of the most meaningful quotes I ever came across in Hollywood movies! Its a tragedy that Shawshank Redemption and American History X did not get Oscars for the best movie.

[Red]" I find I am so excited I can barely sit still or hold a thought in my head. I think it is the excitement only a free man can feel, a free man at the start of a long journey whose conclusion is uncertain... I hope I can make it across the border. I hope to see my friend and shake his hand. I hope the Pacific is as blue as it has been in my dreams. I hope. "

[Lester] " I guess I could be pretty pissed off about what happened to me, but it's hard to stay mad when there's so much beauty in the world. Sometimes I feel like I'm seeing it all at once, and it's too much; my heart fills up like a balloon that's about to burst... And then I remember to relax, and stop trying to hold on to it. And then it flows through me like rain, and I can't feel anything but gratitude for every single moment of my stupid little life. You have no idea what I'm talking about, I'm sure. But don't worry... You will someday."

[Danny] "So I guess this is where I tell you what I learned - my conclusion, right? Well, my conclusion is: Hate is baggage. Life's too short to be pissed off all the time. It's just not worth it. Derek says it's always good to end a paper with a quote. He says someone else has already said it best. So if you can't top it, steal from them and go out strong. So I picked a guy I thought you'd like. 'We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory will swell when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.' "



With love from China..

A guy working in IT sector of a company based in Shanghai recently posted his observations. This guy is from India and he has previous international work-exposure like working in US. These observations are his personal view-points.

General observation:

1. Though the roads and signals are well structured like in the US, the driving is like in India. Taxi rides can be compared to auto rides in India. You need to hold your belongings and your life in your hand. You can never predict which side it’s going to turn.

2. 99% Chinese girls are very slim. One can’t guess women's age here. Their face is so wrinkle free that even old women look like they are in their 30s.

3. “Province” is the equivalent of “State” in India. However, Shanghai and Beijing are like Union territories in India. They don’t belong to any province.

4. 90% of the people here in Shanghai don’t believe in god. It seems only some of the older generation believe in Buddha. It’s hard to see any temple (Buddha temple) here.

5. It’s a government rule that people can have only 1 child. If the first one is a girl then under some specific circumstances (if they are rich or if the parents are well educated) they can have another child. If you are in private company and are rich, then you can have more than 1 kid.

If you are a govt. employee and if you have more than 1 kid , then you will be punished with penalties, your salary will be reduced and you will face more pressure in work.

6. There is no arranged marriage concept here. They believe in "Freedom to choose their partner".

7. In restaurants, they serve some tea in a small cup instead of water, though it tastes like warm water only.

8. You can see vegetable vendors outside in hand-pulled carts like in India but buying from them is a trouble for foreigners since they charge almost 3 times the price and it’s difficult to bargain without knowing Chinese.

9. When giving gifts to someone, you should give gifts in sets (i.e., dishes), but never in sets of four (a number associated with death). You should Avoid white, which symbolizes death of parents, and black, which symbolizes tragedy or death.

10. There is only 1 English channel for the whole of China. That broadcasts mostly news and some culture/travel info. about china.

11. Women here are so concerned about their skin, they take umbrellas even when it is cloudy. They feel Japanese women are more fair then them and probably want to compete with them.

Office environment:

1. There are no spoons in the coffee area (There is no pantry/canteen at all) since people use chopsticks only.

2. People are very punctual. The office is full at the stroke of 9 in the morning. Same is the case in the evening. You can’t find a soul in the office at 5 past 6 in the evening.

3. Native guys bring small pillows to office and have in the chair. First we thought it was for sitting comfortably. But after lunch, at around 12.30 almost everyone sleeps, not just dozing off seeing the monitor, they press Ctrl+Alt+Del and comfortably lean in the chair and sleep. It seems it’s a practice here. In offices in rural areas they sleep for 2 hours or so. Our firm's Associates have been requested to use the conference room for “sleeping” since clients may visit sometimes.

4. Even in office, we don't speak normal English. Most of the native folks can't follow. We need to stop and pronounce word by word with actions. Most of the time we end up writing it down for them to understand.



Does God exist?

An atheist professor of philosophy speaks to his class on the problem science has with God, The Almighty. He asks one of his new students to stand and.....

Prof : So you believe in God?
Student: Absolutely, sir.

Prof: Is God good?
Student: Sure.

Prof: Is God all-powerful?
Student: Yes.

Prof: My brother died of cancer even though he prayed to God to heal him. Most of us would attempt to help others who are ill. But God didn't. How is this God good then? Hmm?
Student is silent.

Prof: You can't answer, can you?
Let's start again, young fellow. Is God good?
Student: Yes.

Prof: Is Satan good?
Student: No.

Prof: Where does Satan come from?
Student: From...God...

Prof: That's right. Tell me son, is there evil in this world?
Student: Yes.

Prof: Evil is everywhere, isn't it? And God did make everything. Correct?
Student: Yes.

Prof: So who created evil?
Student does not answer.

Prof: Is there sickness? Immorality? Hatred? Ugliness? All these terrible things exist in the world, don't they?
Student: Yes, sir.

Prof: So, who created them?
Student has no answer.

Prof: Science says you have 5 senses you use to identify and observe the world around you. Tell me, son...Have you ever seen God?
Student: No, sir.

Prof: Tell us if you have ever heard your God?
Student: No, sir.

Prof: Have you ever felt your God, tasted your God, smelt your God? Have you ever had any sensory perception of God for that matter?
Student: No, sir. I'm afraid I haven't.

Prof: Yet you still believe in Him?
Student: Yes.

Prof: According to empirical, testable, demonstrable protocol, science says your GOD doesn't exist. What do you say to that, son?
Student: Nothing. I only have my faith.

Prof: Yes Faith. And that is the problem science has.

Now the student said can I ask something to you Professor.

Student: Professor, is there such a thing as heat?
Prof: Yes.

Student : And is there such a thing as cold?
Prof: Yes.

Student: No sir. There isn't.

(The lecture theatre becomes very quiet with this turn of events.)

Student: Sir, you can have lots of heat, even more heat, superheat, mega heat, white heat, a little heat or no heat. But we don't have anything called cold. We can hit 458 degrees below zero which is no heat, but we can't go any further after that. There is no such thing as cold. Cold is only a word we use to describe the absence of heat. We cannot measure cold. Heat is energy. Cold is not the opposite of heat, sir, just the absence of it.

(There is pin-drop silence in the lecture theatre.)

Student: What about darkness, Professor? Is there such a thing as darkness?
Prof: Yes. What is night if there isn't darkness?

Student: You're wrong again, sir. Darkness is the absence of something.
You can have low light, normal light, bright light, flashing light... But if you have no light constantly, you have nothing and its called darkness, isn't it? In reality, darkness isn't. If it were you would be able to make darkness darker, wouldn't you?
Prof: So what is the point you are making, young man?

Student: Sir, my point is your philosophical premise is flawed.
Prof: Flawed? Can you explain how?

Student: Sir, you are working on the premise of duality. You argue there is life and then there is death, a good God and a bad God. You are viewing the concept of God as something finite, something we can measure. Sir, science can't even explain a thought. It uses electricity and magnetism, but has never seen, much less fully understood either one. To view death as the opposite of life is to be ignorant of the fact that death cannot exist as a substantive thing. Death is not the opposite of life: just the absence of it. Now tell me, Professor. Do you teach your students that they evolved from a monkey?

Prof: If you are referring to the natural evolutionary process, yes, of course, I do.

Student: Have you ever observed evolution with your own eyes, sir?

(The Professor shakes his head with a smile, beginning to realize where the argument is going.)

Student: Since no one has ever observed the process of evolution at work and cannot even prove that this process is an on-going endeavor, are you not teaching your opinion, sir? Are you not a scientist but a preacher?

(The class is in uproar.)

Student: Is there anyone in the class who has ever seen the Professor's brain?

(The class breaks out into laughter.)

Student: Is there anyone here who has ever heard the Professor's brain, felt it, touched or smelt it? No one appears to have done so. So, according to the established rules of empirical, stable, demonstrable protocol, science says that you have no brain, sir. With all due respect, sir, how do we then trust your lectures, sir?

(The room is silent. The professor stares at the student, his face unfathomable.)

Prof: I guess you'll have to take them on faith, son.
Student: That is it sir... The link between man & god is FAITH.

That is all that keeps things moving & alive. .



Eligible Bachelors !

Google fetches around 1.5 million webpages for India and Offshoring together. India figures on top of any Fortune 500 company's favourite destination for service offshoring. But the question is whether India ready to sustain the momentum ?

One recent McKinsey study says that only 10% of total Arts & Humanities graduates are suitable for BPO industry while only 25% of Engineering graduates are employable in IT industry.

It further says 'In India only 1.2 million people hold engineering degrees—4 percent of the total university-educated workforce, as compared with 20 percent in Germany and 33 percent in China. Combined with the generally low level of suitability among Indian graduates, this means that India could face an overall shortage of engineers in the next few years, with a particular squeeze in certain cities. Wages for India's graduate software engineers have already risen steeply in the most popular offshoring destinations, such as Bangalore and Mumbai.'

Taking the case of Andhra Pradesh - 'universities and colleges in the Hyderabad region graduate 25,000 engineers a year, which will not be enough to satisfy the demand at current growth rates if only 25 percent are suitable for employment in multinationals.'

The above was one side of the coin but there is other side too which often does not come to the notice of any study. There is a significant percentage of people in the IT sector who does not hold an Engineering or Technical degree but they have enough experience and talent to work comfortably. Many times, these people are treated differently and have to settle for less when it comes to raise and promotion although onsite client pays same wages for these employees as for any other Engineering graduates of IT vendor.

There is yet another thing which India needs to get ready to. When all the bright people will join the IT workforce then how difficult it's going to find good Mechanical or Civil Engineers ?




Degree Quotient!

How important is the college degree to success ? People have different opinion of success itself but most of them measure it by material success and also by the value-add to the society. Having a degree is not a liability but it's not an asset too unless you really know what to do with it !

Some of the 'successful' persons like Bill Gates, Larry Ellison, Steve Jobs and Michael Dell are college drop-outs. Are they exceptions or having a vision like them is an exception ?

'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 at Stanford.

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 others' 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.




Crazy English!

An interesting passage from Richard Lederer's Crazy English -

Let's face it - English is a crazy language. There is no egg in eggplant
nor ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine in pineapple. English muffins weren't invented in England or French fries in France. Sweetmeats are candies while sweetbreads, which aren't sweet, are meat.

We take English for granted. But if we explore its paradoxes, we find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig. And why is it that writers write but fingers don't fing, grocers don't groce and hammers don't ham? If the plural of tooth is teeth, why isn't the plural of booth beeth? One goose, 2 geese. So one moose, 2 meese? One index, 2 indices? Doesn't it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend. If you have a bunch of odds and ends and get rid of all but one of them, what do you call it? If teachers taught, why didn't preachers praught?

If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat? Sometimes I think all the English speakers should be committed to an asylum for the verbally insane. In what language do people recite at a play and play at a recital? Ship by truck and send cargo by ship? Have noses that run and feet that smell? How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites?

You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language in which your house can burn up as it burns down, in which you fill in a form by filling it out and in which, an alarm goes off by going on.

English was invented by people, not computers, and it reflects the creativity of the human race, which, of course, is not a race at all.

That is why, when the stars are out, they are visible, but when the lights are out, they are invisible.

PS. - Why doesn't "Buick" rhyme with "quick"

If you start to include mistranslations and grammatical errors, things get even more interesting. Take the photo on left. Apparently, the clock runs the whole place ?!! I think it should be "MAINTENANCE DEPARTMENT" rather than "MAINTAINS THE DEPARTMENT".

English CAN be fun...
Spotted in a toilet of a London office:

In a London Laundromat:

In a London department store:

In a London office:

Outside a London secondhand shop:

Notice in London health food shop window:

Spotted in a safari park:

Seen during a London conference:

Notice in a field:

Message on a leaflet:

On a repair shop door:

People in other countries sometimes go out of their way to communicate with their English-speaking tourists. Here is a list of signs seen around the world!

At a Budapest zoo:

Doctors office, Rome:

Hotel, Acapulco:

In a Nairobi restaurant:

In a City restaurant:



Are Eastern and Western management philosophy competitors or are they complementary ? Well, it might take a lifetime to find out and still there will be lot to discover.

The West encourages individualism, East emphasizes the relationship between individuals. Undue attention to individualism means you take charge, and leave others out of the picture. Attention to relationships means you 'connect' with your surroundings and move with others.

Seems evolution of the Western values have favored being in touch with oneself while those of the East have favored being in touch with others. Americans negotiate contracts, while Asians negotiate relationships. In the West, people look at systems for mechanical answers. Systems offer direction but not answers, they offer discipline but not commitment, they offer focus but not participation. In balance, both offer advantages.

Japanese management is well-known for group participation and a high level of productivity. But at its extreme, business based solely on relationships lacks accountability.

Dont know how true is this story but an interesting one. An employee was under-performing at a Japaneese plant. He was promoted and made supervisor of other employees working there. His performance improved. No prize for guessing what would have happened to him at any US plant !



Common Thread!

Woody Allen has been one of the most vibrant and original director of all times.
He has acted in most of the movies he has directed. Some of his classics has done very well on the boxoffice and they are critique's delights like Manhattan, Annie Hall, Deconstructing Harry, Husbands & Wives . Woody's quotes figure frequently on top 50 pick-up lines from movies. Some of the famous ones which you might have heard are 'I don't want to achieve immortality through my work…I want to achieve it through not dying.' and 'I had a terrible education. I attended a school for emotionally disturbed teachers.'!

His on-screen and off-screen life share few common threads like protagonist's failed marriages, visits to Psychiatrists, frequent mention of Jews or Judaism, movies revolving around NY and ofcourse womanizing !


Three Sides?

How many things with three sides you can think of other than 3-D?

Well, our tongue can distinguish tastes in Sweet, Sour and Salt...our life cycle has three stages - as a Child, as a Grown-up and as an Old...then personality shades of Black, White and Gray....Hindu belief in God's trilogy - Brahma the Creator, Vishnu the Preserver, and Shiva the Destroyer.....In Christianity, doctrine of Trinity - the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Ofcourse, three branches of a government - Executive, Legislative and judicial.

And finally a classic - The Good, The Bad and The Ugly!