Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Solar power - future face of Indian energy sector?

The Indian solar market which is expected to grow to around INR 15,000cr by 2013, presents a great opportunity for foreign solar energy companies to ride this opportunity and make it a win-win situation. Conventional energy (oil or coal) cannot be a long term option. We'll have to look at other sources for renewable clean energy. And for a country like India solar energy seems like a very viable option.

Follw the below link to read my article on the future of Solar power industry in India.

Using the sun to light the nights

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Mumbai’s war with political hoardings

Well there was a time when, while driving on Mumbai’s roads you would look out for those funny Amul billboards or have pretty film stars staring down at you from advertising hoardings. But off late the only hoardings/billboards you get to see every where are put up by political parties wishing their leaders a happy birthday or congratulating them on some electoral win or welcoming them into the city or .. uummm …. just about anything! So instead of your pretty Bollywood starlets, we have kurta or lungi clad ugly politicians in various poses staring into your face through awful & garish hoardings. I had once actually seen a nanasaheb someone pose with his dog on such a hoarding!! In fact I had read somewhere that nearly 90% of the hoardings in Mumbai are political while the remaining are religious or cultural. To add to it political parties mostly pay fees only for 50% of their total hoardings while the rest are illegal. Should we be surprised? Instead of earning revenues from these political hoardings, BMC spends around INR 1lac daily to get them removed as it has to deploy a vehicle and four employees in each ward every day to bring them down.
So it was really encouraging to see Maharashtra’s new CM, Prithviraj Chavan ordering his supporters to pull down all the hoarding congratulating him on becoming the CM. This led to BMC going on overdrive and pulling down over 500 unauthorised hoardings in Mumbai in a single day!
Actually in July 2010, Mumbai high court had said that a political leader whose picture appears on illegal hoardings or banners can be prosecuted. But funnily the fine for illegal display of hoardings in India is INR 50 to 100 irrespective of their size. Continuing offense attracts a princely penalty of INR 10/day! Also politicians argue that these banners do not bear the name of the person who put them up, so it gets difficult to prosecute the offender. But I think it’s high time our leaders are made accountable for acts of their party workers. There has to be a code of conduct for the party. Some one has to be accountable. We cannot let them treat our city as their personal blackboard!

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

A speech by Narayana Murthy on Sitting late at work

Infosys' Chairman and Chief Mentor Officer (CMO) - Mr. Narayana Murthy's Speech on Late Sitting:

Hope that many of us start leaving early for home after reading this... I am not relating this to the present scenario. I know people whowork 12 hours a day, six days a week, or more. Some people do so because of a work emergency where the long hours are only temporary. Other people I know have put in these hours for years. I don't know if they are working all these hours, but I do know they are in the office this long. Others put in long office hours because they are addicted to the workplace. Whatever the reason for putting in overtime, working long hours over the long term is harmful to the person and to the organization. There are things managers can do to change this for everyone's benefit. Being in the office long hours, over long periods of time, makes way for potential errors. My colleagues who are in the office long hours frequently make mistakes caused by fatigue. Correcting these mistakes requires their time as well as the time and energy of others. I have seen people work Tuesday through Friday to correct mistakes made after 5 PM on Monday.

Another problem is that people who are in the office for long hours are not pleasant company.
They often complain about other people (who aren't working as hard); they are irritable, or cranky, or even angry. Other people avoid them. Such behaviour poses problems, where work goes much better when people work together instead of avoiding one another. As Managers, there are things we can do to help people leave the office. First and foremost is to set the example and go home ourselves. I work with a manager who chides people for working long hours. His words quickly lose their meaning when he sends these chiding group e-mails with a time-stamp of 2 AM, Sunday.

Second is to encourage people to put some balance in their lives. For instance, here is a guideline I find helpful:
1) Wake up, eat a good breakfast, and go to work.
2) Work hard and smart for eight or nine hours.
3) Go home.
4) Read the comics, watch a funny movie, dig in the dirt, play with your kids, etc.
5) Eat well and sleep well.

This is called recreating. Doing steps 1, 3, 4, and 5 enable step 2. Working regular hours and recreating daily are simple concepts. They are hard for some of us because that requires personal change. They are possible since we all have the power to choose to do them. In considering the issue of overtime, I am reminded of my eldest son. When he was a toddler, If people were visiting the apartment, he would not fall asleep no matter how long the visit, and no matter what time of day it was.! He would fight off sleep until the visitors left.. It was as if he was afraid that he would miss something. Once our visitors' left, he would go to sleep. By this time, however, he was over tired and would scream through half the night with nightmares. He, my wife, and I, all paid the price for his fear of missing out. Perhaps some people put in such long hours because they don't want to miss anything when they leave the office. The trouble with this is that events will never stop happening. That is life! Things happen 24hours a day. Allowing for little rest is not ultimately practical. So, take a nap. Things will happen while you're asleep, but you will have the energy to catch up when you wake.

Hence "LOVE YOUR JOB BUT NEVER FALL IN LOVE WITH YOUR COMPANY (Because you never know when it stops loving you)" - Narayana Murthy

Interview Bloopers

Over the last few years that I have been conducting interviews at VN as well as at my earlier jobs, there have been many memorable inst...