Thursday, September 28, 2006

Upcoming - Ready to Commercialize conference at UT

Ready to Commercialize 2006, the fourth annual UT Austin conference on technology commercialization is all set to take stage on Oct 12th. It will feature inventor presentations, up-to-the-minute discussions on industry trends and expert advice on how to deliver university based technology to the world. Presentations and panel discussions will feature executives and experts from Google, IBM, Microsoft, Corning, Chevron Technology Ventures and the like, along with other University of Texas representatives.

For more information on the conference, click here


Sunday, September 24, 2006

Does success lead to happiness?

Success is getting what you want.

Happiness is wanting what you get.

Am I happy? Or, am i successful yet? I think I'm neither, today. Miles to go before I find the answer to these questions in my life...Or I might never...


Big opportunties with little capital

Michael Dell (Dell) and Steve Jobs (Apple) are not the only ones....

* In 1930s, Josephine Esther Mentzer assisted her uncle by selling skin care balm and quickly created her own products with $100 initial investment. After convincing department stores rather than drug stores to carry her products, Estee Lauder was on its way to becoming a $4 billion corporation

* Putting their talents together, Roy and Walt Disney moved to California and started their own film studio with $290 in 1923. By mid-2001, Walt Disney Co. had a market-cap exceeding $40 billion

* While working for a Chicago insurance company, a 24 year old sent out 20,000 inquiries for a black newsletter. With 3,000 positive responses and $500, John Harold Johnson published Jet for the first time in 1942. In the 1990s Johnson Publishing published various magazines, including Ebony !

* With $100 Nicholas Graham, aged 24, went to a local fabric store, picked out some fabrics and made $100 worth of ties. Having sold the ties to specialty shops, Graham was approached by Macy's to place his patterns on men's underwear. So Joe Boxer Corporation was born and six months into Joe Boxer's second year, sales already topped $1 million.

* Mark Nelson started Ovid Technologies in the later 1980s in a one-bedroom apartment in Manhattan's Spanish Harlem. Unable to find investors, his company grew while he rented more and more apartments in the building until computer network wires were all over the place. Salaries for his employees were low, but he allowed them to stay rent-free in their office spaces. In 1994, Ovid had 150 employees, went public and raised $10 million equity (1 in 600,000 ventures go public!) In 1999, he sold his company for $200 million.

So, ideas are commodities, bootstrapping is an art!


Saturday, September 23, 2006

Not a very good scene in Missouri

CNN Uncut

"It's devastating," he said. "We've got nice houses that are just tore to pieces."

Forecasters warn that storms and possibly tornadoes could hit parts of Arkansas, Kansas and Missouri today. "You could get a lot of rain in no time flat," one meteorologist said. Rescuers are searching for anyone still stranded after torrential rain sparked flooding and tornadoes ripped through homes. Five people were killed on Friday, with others forced to seek shelter in trees.

Yes, it's not a very good scene out there in the Midwest and South. More than a 100 homes were damaged and torn apart. My condolonces.

We've got terrorism, Al-Quaeda, world wars, wars for nothing (you know what I'm talking about), plane crashes, road accidents. Isin't that enough? To add to these, we have these natural disasters. Why? hmmm.....


Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Why did I come to UT? The secret revealed...

I've been asked this question at almost all the interviews I've attended so far after getting to this school. No matter what I've answered them, no matter what there was on my SOP or B-school essays, here's the ultimate truth....the first and most important thing that attracted me towards UT...a striking coincidence! .... or is it?

Check out the longhorn cheer symbol...

There's Bush too, when he visited Texas...

So, what's it got to do with me? even before I got here? Here you go!

If you don't get it, visit one of my previous posts, here

NOTE: This is serious stuff, no kiddin' !

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Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Question of the Day

Q: Are alcoholics beneficial or harmful to the economy?

A: Beneficial!

Studies show that in the U.S., a woman who drinks earns on an average 14% more than a woman who has not tasted alcohol ever. An average man who drinks earns about 10% more than an average man who hasn't tried alcohol before.

Well, IMO, this could be an example of the chicken-egg problem, but the survey and results were for real.


Thursday, September 14, 2006

Ford offers to buyout all its UAW workers

If my last 5 years chart looks like this, this is what I would resort to doing. It clearly shows that the U.S auto giants Ford(F) and GM (not depicted above) are facing tremendously stiff competition from the Japanese auto manufacturer, Toyota Motor Corp. (TM)

Ford's previous North American overhaul plan, the Way Forward, unveiled in January, had proposed eliminating 30,000 hourly jobs, about 36% of total U.S. hourly workers, and 4,000 salaried jobs by 2012. Those cuts, and more, will likely happen several years sooner under the revised plan, keeping in mind that they have lost $1.3 billion in the first half of the year. Just take a look at their 2006 quarterly income statement. So, when is bankruptcy taking over?

Ford's decision to offer all of its U.S. hourly workers incentives to leave the payroll follows a similar offer by GM that succeeded in slashing more than 34,000 people from the company's U.S. factory work force which is expected to cut its annual costs by $9 billion

Hard choices, tough decisions, increasing costs, workers strike, shameful net losses and bankruptcy threats are few of the zillion things that are keeping the Ford executives sleepless. A couple of sleeping pills could help...


Study looks at 9/11 student response

A landmark study by a UT Austin College of Education professor aims to find evidence of a “Generation 9/11,” the result of significant shifts in college students’ attitudes since the attack by terrorists on America on Sept. 11, 2001, and the effect this might have on future politics, economics, and social policy.

In the wake of 9/11, students at The University of Texas at Austin, and around the nation, sought comfort in candlelight vigils, memorial ceremonies and forums where the tragedy was discussed.

Dr. Patricia Somers in intrigued by the question - "if you were in high school or college when radical Islamic terrorists attacked America on Sept. 11, 2001, are you Generation 9/11?" and decided to go to the source for some answers - To read more about the survey's findings, click here


Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Ferrari without Schumacher

is like a computer without a monitor...hmmm....not good enough...probably is like a night sky without the stars...well...trying to be creative here but it's not working. Nevertheless, Schumacher confirmed to retire from Formula1 racing next year. He still trails Alonso by 2 points after his emotional Ferrari victory in the Italian Grand Prix last weekend.

People aware of the situation said, that his relationship with Ferrari will however continue although it is unknown what it would be at this point. For all he has contributed to Ferrari in the last 11 seasons and contributing to 6 of their constructors' crowns, I wouldn't be surprised if they even create a new position for the master racer (or would he take Jean Todt's role?)

"Words are not enough and whatever I could say now will never fully express how much I love this fascinating world of motor sport and all it has given me," said Schumacher

Well, now to my Formula1 career as a fan. I've been a loyal Schumacher fan ever since I started developing an interest in this sport. And at the same time, admired the Ferrari car and crew in action. It is not an easy thing to digest that the next season I will have no Michael to cheer. However, the new Ferrari team would consist of 2 highly talented young drivers in Raikonnen and Massa (whose contract will be extended considering this performance this season).

Michael will be missed, not a feather of doubt, but...

Go Ferrari!


The Buckeyes spoil our party

So, it became obvious that our longhorn freshman quarterback Colt McKoy was no match for hero Vince Young. Unfortunately, I got to see OSU show us who the No.1 was ("this year"!), when the Buckeyes beat the Longhorns last Saturday. Trust me, it was not a pretty sight at Austin after that. Like many others, I didn't even want to head downtown after the game, as we expected the place to be crowded with OSU fans.

However, the tailgates happened in their usual craze. The pre-game crowd was stupefying, as you can see in some of the photos we took there. For those lesser mortals non-Longhorns, this is how Austin looks prior to every single game at UT.

Yes, we bleed orange!!

The Business school has its own tailgate too, usually the biggest one to party! For this game in particular, I believe there were people standing in line for 2-3 days continuously for reserving tailgate locations. And here's the B-school's...

Rohit, I, Charles and Abhishek - Yes, this was still much before we lost the game, that's why the cheers!

Rohit caught a few nice snaps of the pre-game, enjoy!

Ball in action Drunken horns! Hahaha!

If this was how our 'spoilt' party looked like, juz imagine how it would have been had we stepped over the #1s. Nevertheless, it's not over. You'll see us roar back for the OU weekend!


Saturday, September 09, 2006

What the Dell!

One of the biggest recruiters at UT in all disciplines, Dell, has been consistently failing to perform for the last 2 years. Now at $21.65, Dell shares have fallen nearly 28% in 2006 alone, with losses getting worse the further back we go.

DateResearch FirmActionFromTo
18-Aug-06Goldman SachsDowngradeNeutralSell
15-Aug-06Cowen & CoInitiated Neutral
21-Jul-06AG EdwardsDowngradeBuyHold
30-May-06First AlbanyDowngradeBuyNeutral
19-May-06Credit SuisseDowngradeOutperformNeutral
19-May-06Friedman BillingsUpgradeMkt PerformOutperform
19-May-06Needham & CoDowngradeBuyHold
9-May-06Robert W. BairdDowngradeOutperformNeutral

Source: Yahoo Finance


HP Divided

2002 - Walter Hewlett, after HP's $19 billion acquisition of Compaq
2005 Feb - Ms. Fiorina
Now 2006, it could be their Chairman, Patricia Dunn's turn to depart from HP and its Board.

Yes, with $77 billion in total assets (of which $43 billion are current), one of the biggest Silicon Valley firms, HP, has been undergoing unusual upheavals in the recent years. The board has fluctuated between nine and 11 directors in the past 18 months, with multiple comings and goings.

The 2006 HP scandal: Ms. Dunn had helped prod H-P's board to examine Ms. Fiorina's performance and how well H-P had fared since its acquisition of Compaq in 2002.

Ms. Dunn authorized the probe into media leaks. After private investigators obtained phone records that showed director George Keyworth had spoken with a reporter, Ms. Dunn and H-P's general counsel, Ann Baskins, concluded the leak was a violation of the company's standards of business conduct.

And it gets worse. Now, California Attorney General Bill Lockyer yesterday said his office will probably file criminal charges related to the company's use of private investigators to obtain phone records of board members who might have been leaking to the news media. The investigators used "pretexting" -- calling a phone company to get a customer's information under the pretext of representing that customer -- a scam that has been a growing problem for phone companies and an even worse one for consumers, The Wall Street Journal notes.

A divided Hewlett-Packard Co. board is scheduled to confer by phone Sunday to discuss the future of Chairman Patricia Dunn and other fallout from an investigation of press leaks which authorities say may have violated California law. However, Ms. Dunn says she has no plans to resign. However, she said she would step down as both chairman and an H-P board member if fellow directors request it. "I serve entirely at the pleasure of the board," Ms. Dunn said. "If they determine it no longer is in the interest of shareholders" to remain chairman or a director, "I will do so."

And although this nixonian scandal is the talk of the Silicon Valley, surprisingly the street has not "yet" reacted much to it. HP shares hardly changed this week. That concerns me, because I'm beginning to wonder about the value that Ms. Dunn had been adding to the board then!


Steve B makes a fool of himself

An old video of current Microsoft CEO, Steve Balmer, trying to market Windows 1.0...hahaha!

We know where Vista stands now, the launch in Europe is threatened to be further delayed, which is not exceptional with Microsoft products. This time, it is due to the EU concerns. The EU regulators had sent Microsoft a "detailed list" of concerns regarding the Vista operating system back at the beginning of July, and Microsoft only responded to that by end of August. EU's top anti-trust regulator, Neelie Kroes, spoke by telephone about the issue on Aug. 22 with Steve.

A delay in launch could prove to be adverse for Microsoft and it is also expected to have economic consequences across Europe. There's only one way out -

An older Steve B has to market the product well to the EU, once again putting to action his repertoire of acting skills that he has demonstrated in the video above, while selling Windows 1.0 !!! I would love to see that atleast ...


Friday, September 08, 2006

Federer deserves better

Says, San Francisco Chronicle's Bruce Jenkins

Federer just beat America's James Blake last night in the U.S Open QF. He looked vulnerable at times against Blake, but not for long.

Still, asks Lisa Dillman in the Los Angeles Times, "How often does that look of relief appear on Roger Federer's face after a match?" Here's how it looked last night: "Federer raised his racket in the air and stuck out his tongue, looking like a little kid who knew he might have escaped punishment. In this case, punishment would have meant going five sets with James Blake, flirting with the possibility of a rare quarterfinal loss at a Grand Slam."

The New York crowd pulling for Blake, led by his group of J-Block supporters high in the stands wearing blue shirts, would have been thrilled to see the American put Federer away. It's something the Swiss native has become used to, playing in foreign lands where fans are always pulling for their underdog to beat the best player in the world. "Roger Federer has no real audience," says the San Francisco Chronicle's Bruce Jenkins, who thinks the player deserves better. "Not once has he played before a massive, deafening crowd cheering deliriously for him in a really important match. He crafts his paintings in solitude, makes hauntingly beautiful music in silence. He seems resigned to his fate, a lonely Swiss moving steadily from one stop to the next, building a reputation that might someday anoint him the greatest of all time."

I whole-heartedly agree to Bruce's comments, I want to see once, Federer win in front of a crowd that cheers deafeningly for him in a crucial grand slam final, like how the French would support Nadal in the French Open, or Americans would cheer Roddick in the U.S Open, or how the English consistently support even Henman in the Wimbledon every year, or....

However, we would be in for some nice action this weekend. A showdown between Andy Roddick and Roger Federer, who beat James Blake in four sets last night, could be in the making, but a pair of little-known Russian tennis players stands in the way.

Go Roger!


Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Japan on the highs - success from auto, now to aircrafts...

BW Uncut

The Japanese government is planning on building the country's first passenger jet in a JV with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. This is Japan's first entry into the lucrative commercial aircraft market primarily dominated today by U.S based Boeing and Europe's Airbus, although Japanese manufacturers have been supplying Boeing with aircraft parts now for decades. It is another classical case of forward integration in the value chain, that Japan is entering into, as it did a few years back in the auto industry.

Here are some details of the proposed airliner -
* 72 and 92 seat versions
* enter service in 2012
* Led by Japan's Ministry of Trade, Economy and Industry
* Project costs $1.03 billion estimated, to start with I guess
* Aims for 20% more fuel efficiency
* Between 50 and 100 aircrafts are expected to be manufactured and sold each year
* Mitsubishi believes that they need to sell around 350 - 600 aircrafts to be profitable

A few questions to ask at this point are -

* The Japs can definitely build it in a more cost efficient manner than the U.S and Europe counterparts - this has been proved time and again in the auto industry, but by how much here?
* Will their advantage of non-unionized work force hold good even here, becuase that is one of the chief issues faced in the U.S today
* Each passenger jet deals with carrying around 70 lives - will a new entrant achieve credibility, if so how soon? I think it is difficult and might take a lot of time for them to turn profitable hence.
* My most serious concern, what will the be the adoption rate, i.e., how many airlines will want to stop usage of their historical A380s and Boeing 747s to invest in the new Japanese passenger jets, although an NPV calcualtion taking into account the fuel economization, would favor the Jap jets
* How will Boeing and Airbus react to this? They've been the two 800 pound gorillas in this industry and there's been severe competition between them already.

We all know very well what happened to the GMs and Fords of the U.S after the entry of Toyota. Are we in for something similar? Well, let's wait and see.


Microsoft's new strategy to improve Windows

Bugged as I am of the 'Click here to send an error report?' message displayed by our 'favorite' Windows? Frustrated that even if you send an error report, Microsoft just trashes them? No! Finally, they are trying something new. Enjoy this video (true? - maybe! ) Its hilarious!

Thanks to Mukesh, for pointing me to this.