Thursday, August 16, 2007

VMware goes public!

I don't believe I missed this. If you did too, catch their IPO action on

VMWare dominates the virtualization programs industry and I just read that investors drove their shares high by 76% on the opening day. I know that technology firms are again adored by investors and venture capitalists, but does this mark the restart of the tech IPO booms? Read more on the Economist.

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Simply GDP

Someone asked me about this today, so I thought will post on it too...

What is GDP and how is a country's GDP estimated?

A: A country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is nothing but a way of measuring the size of its economy. It can be considered as the market value of all goods and services produced within the country in a given time frame.

The famous GDP equation is as follows -

GDP = C + I + G + (X-M)

C -> total Consumption in the country (e.g., food)
I -> total Investment in the country (e.g., construction of a new oil field)
G -> total Government spending in the country (e.g., salaries of civil servants)
X -> total eXports
M -> total iMports

And where to get the numbers to plug into this equation? Wish it were that simple, that is a big course by itself, on what to include and what not to include.

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More problems at Dell....

Dell, the world's second largest PC maker based at Round Rock, TX, said today that it has to restate its last 4 years of financial results due to potential manipulation. It expects the restatement to reduce the net income by around $150 M, which is actually not much when compared to the $12 B that it made during this same restatement period. Revenues would also reduce by 1%. So the changes are minimal, but nevertheless their reporting problems continue. The review identified evidence that certain manpluations and adjustments seem to have been motivated by the objective of attaining financial targets.

This is the common reason behind most cases of earnings manipulation, and we know that Dell still faces SEC investigations for prior misconduct. In the in-process audit that began in August 2006 after similar accounting problems, around 125 lawyers and 250 accountants reviewed more thab 5M documents (that's big!!) and conducted more than 200 interviews with the company employees.

We've noticed a lot of changes since then, with the most prominent ones being -

- Michael Dell returned as Chief Executive in January, replacing his protege Kevin Rollins
- They recently broke from their long successful direct-to-consumer sale strategy and have started selling their computers at Wal-Mart. This actually disturbs me a little. Dell, being based at Austin, TX, used to find its way into almost all our business school case studies, be it Information Mangement, or Operations, or Strategy, or even Finance (well, nowadays, it can start featuring in the Accounting classes as well, on how NOT to do accounting :-) ). And in almost every class that I've attended we've discussed the direct-sales model of Dell. I envy the future generations who don't have to go through that trauma anymore. Nevertheless, they still remain our biggest recruiter at UT, absorbing more than 25 interns on a consistent basis...

But, what's the future of Dell? Well, I guess they really have to find their way out of the labyrinth of improper accounting that they are in now and regain confidence among the customers, shareholders and employees. I will think twice before I buy a Dell PC, think 5 times before I invest in the company and think 10 times before I decide I want to work for the company. No, don't get me wrong, I like the company, Michael's a great founder and CEO and I'm sure he's already turning things around for the company, but yet, they have to straighten themselves a bit - they are lucky to get away with this mal-reporting as they have to restate only a small percentage this time, but.....


Sunday, August 12, 2007

No stopping Ozzy....!

Hey fella Ozzy and metal fans, I'm sure you've all been indulging in as much head-banging as I've been over the last couple of weeks, when this man, the legendary 59-year old Ozzy Osbourne released his new album after 6 years, Black Rain (Buy it on Amazon here ).
The first two songs, Not Going Away and I Don't Wanna Stop are just out of the world IMO, and pretty much among the best headbangs you can ever get. And as you may see from these two track titles and lyrics, the message is clear. There's no stopping Ozzy, and he wants to stretch it as far as he can!

All my life I've been over the top
I don't know what I'm doing,
All I know is
I Don't Wanna Stop!

Phew! Don't miss it!

Also, catch the Rolling Stone review on Black Rain - where Ozzy says, "I can't believe I'm still here, I should be dead" Yeah, the old guy can't even actually talk, and then suddenly he comes up with such a blowing album. Man, I'm so glad he's still here. There've been times I've wished he was still with Sabbath, but thinking about it, he's given a lot more smashing hits after he left Sabbath in 1979 too, and has sold 50 million individual albums worldwide. WOW, that's something! Mr. Crowley, Walk on Water, Suicide Solution (and the list continues) have always been among my top favorites for a while. However, it is sad to hear him announce his retirement from performing live at the Ozzfest (held together by his son Jack Osbourne) after this year. I missed the opportunity of my lifetime last week when Ozzfest was at Columbus, OH, which is just a couple of hours from where I live. Sadly, I couldn't make it as the stupid thing was on a weekday and I had stuff to take care of at office. I've never see him live! hmmm.......

On the funny side, I was talking to my friend Sheila about it today, and she seems to have got it all against the old guy, hahaha, and particularly disturbed about his biting the head of a live dove intentionally a few years back at the meeting with one of his records executives...So yeah, he's crazy, but also rockin' crazy! Sorry, Sheila, I've tried to and like to keep the dove away from his music..:)

Thanks for reading, that's my tribute to this legend.....


Thursday, August 09, 2007

Free People Search with ZabaSearch

Ever wanted to lookup people in the United States ? Look beyond Yahoo Directory or and think Zaba! This engine offers much better and accurate results on people search. It even returns the birth date of the person you're looking up. Plus, it's got a pretty clean interface. Check it out at ZABASEARCH.COM

Thanks to Shankar for pointing me to this. It did help!


Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Free Running - the sport of tomorrow??

I met this guy Craig today at the Buddhist temple, who just casually mentioned about Free Running and it intrigued me that I got back home and checked it out. Man, these guys just rule Jackie Chan and the lot out of the race. Crouching Tiger is no match. They just fly like birds. Few more years, and I wouldn't be surprised if this Free Running becomes a professional sport and we see an industry behind it. I'm not sure if they're wearing any special shoes, but they just don't get hurt when they jump from roof to roof.

Here's a sample video on Free Running - watch it and enjoy the action!

And in case it interests you further, these two brothers performing Free Running are a delight to watch....they don't seem to leave any surface untouched..


Thursday, August 02, 2007

America's infrastructure gone for a toss, with the Minnesota breakdown

Here's the update....

  • Minnesota Interstate 35W bridge breaks down (experts say, due to corrosion), costs 6 lives (counting...)
  • Minnesota ranked #3 in the country for infrastructure
  • Ranked #11 by CNBC for business in the Transportation industry
  • Victims trapped in submerged cars
  • Not able to use cellphones, as these stupid devices, like Tendulkar, don't serve in emergency situations. They couldn't handle the traffic when everyone reached their cellphones immediately and simply crashed! - Speaks of America's infrastructure again!
  • Federal government orders all the states to inspect all their bridges IMMEDIATELY
Click here for a slideshow of images of the breakdown from

Victim driver says, "I don't believe I'm alive..." - Check out for more coverage on that.

Some more stats that may be eye-openers for the Congressmen, who probably feel it's not a sex appeal to talk about transportation and infrastructure during their campaigns, nor are willing to sufficient spend money on it.
  • 70,000+ (13%) U.S. bridges are structurally deficient
  • 3,871 of these are over 100 years old
  • $188B - $0.5 Trillion to bring them upto what they should be, and it will take a lifetime
  • Bridge repair backlog is around $55 B
  • Fed spends nearly $40B a year on highways and bridges

Alright, if the Minnesota bridges are ranked among the nation's best and this is what happens, I guess everytime now I go on a bridge or a highway, I can't stop my thoughts wander......