Friday, October 19, 2007
Well, the only thing one can conclude is that various divisions in this "esteemed" firm are operating asynchronously. Just as the HR dept continues to hire freshers from college campuses, the same HR dept. also issues notification of termination of employment. well, it is obvious - not only is the HR messed up, but so is the top management strategy which is totally devoid of any coordinated effort. The CIO decided on a new strategy and goes on a firing spree, to satisfy blood-thirsty fund manager investors who call for cost cutting.
Too much importance is often attributed to the role of the top management teams. Maybe the reality is that top management does have an enormous impact on a firm's fortunes. However, the top management is often acting in self-interest, moving from one firm to another, optimizing on a short time frame while th real benefits actually lie in long-range planning.
It is not enough to cut-costs. Dell has probably efficiently picked up all the low-hanging fruit just too easily in an industry messed up with legacy-system probems. Now, the real growth can only come through good products and a consumer focus. To achieve this, Dell does not have to cust costs. It needs to focus more on R&D and focus on developing consumer-friendly products not shoddy laptops which break down within a year.
Dell has shown its cheap mentality, one that is driven by short term optimization that reflects top management interests and not the real interests of shareholders and employees. It is a shame that the exuberant market even rewards it.
Thursday, October 18, 2007
I watch in utter dismay as the White House discourages the Congress in its ’ effort to classify the massacre of Armenians by Ottoman Turks as genocide. Let’s for a brief while disregard the moral failure in not calling a massacre of this proportion a genocide. The, I guess, there are a lot of things going on here. Let us weigh the pros and cons in the efforts of Congress to label this as a genocide.
In Turkey’s defense, firstly, the massacre happened in Turkey’s troubled past - a time when the now established Turkish republic was a fascist regime that was backward looking and did not respect human rights. The event occurred almost 90 years ago and seem to have faded from the memory of many of the world’s peoples (although in magnitude it comes close to the Khmer-Rouge atrocities). However, after Ataturk established the Turkish republic, Turkey has been a bastion of democracy in the middle-east with its largely moderate muslim population and its friendliness to the west. It also has stable institutions that are necessary for supporting the future of democracy in a largely troubled region of the world. Its army is modernized, not susceptible to militant religious ideologies and hence might stay an ally in the event of a large-scale war in the middle-east.
The arguments against turkey are that it should at some time come to terms with its violent past. Turkey should probably look up to Germany for having done this really well. It does not matter who carried out the atrocities, the people of that country are responsible in one way or another. Germany, maybe has partly redeemed itself by adopting laws that punish people who deny the holocaust. To a large extent, the people of the world in general might forgiven ( but not forgotten) Germany for its past atrocities. However, Germany managed to face its demons and the world knows of the skeletons in the closet. It takes great courage for a nation to face its violent past and of all the evil powers of the past, Germany deserves credit for doing it well.
A resurgent Turkish nationalism somehow places hurdles for the people of Turkey to face their past. If they want the world to renew their faith in the idea of a strong democratic Turkish republic, they need to redeem themselves and call the massacre, a genocide on their own. International rules governing what is and what is not a genocide are very clear. Genocide is the deliberate and systematic destruction of an ethnic, religious or national group. It is very clear that the Turks carried out irrational massacre of ethnic Armenians.
Given the pros and cons – although it might seem painful for the Turkish and their allies, the right thing to do would be to label this a genocide. The US would then have acknowledged that Turkey did mess up in the past. If the US does not, it is sending a message that it has differential rules for friends vs. foes. This violates the basic sense of fairness that most Americans pride themselves in. Beyond that, how can the US talk about taking a morally right stance in Iraq, Vietnam and elsewhere, at the same time failing to label a genocide rightly so.
Why is it then the White House warns the Congress of pissing off Turkey? Isn’t it obvious what Congress should be doing – calling a spade, a spade? Well, from the executive’s perspective Turkey is a key ally in the so-called war on terror. Albeit, only as a logistical support as 70% of all cargo into Iraq goes through the Incirlik air force base in Turkey. Apart from the operational argument, there are other strategic arguments for why Turkey is important. US needs Turkey to stay quiet on the Iraqi border. Given that the Iraq war is bound to be a nightmare for the US, it does not need troubles with Turkey on the border.
I maybe wrong in my judgment. Maybe, I don’t the facts too well. Somehow, it does not seem to me that the massacre is no different from other well-document genocides in world history. If it looks like a spade, feels like a spade, most probably it is a spade.
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
On a different note, reading the reviews of this movie not only brought back happy memories but also sad ones. Particularly memories of being ragged so badly that I could not fall sleep when I went back home. The utter disgust that raged in me when I was stopped from entering the college, because a few bastards did not want to write exams. There was another time when a guy almost hit me for reasons that were entirely not clear to me. I mean, college campuses have ample anti-social elements that create havoc in the lives of hard-working students. Without taking names, my batch at Vasavi had its fair share of a$$holes, who now pass off as good citizens. You should have seen these bastards in action a decade ago, and you would have never imagined they would get through college. Somehow, they do and that aches me a lot. The system is not supposed to let such individuals get by by almost doing nothing but damage others' interests.
Well, all said and done my peeves about my undergraduate life are no so big so as to make me feel bad about my alma mater. If there is anything that I would change if I had a chance to go back in time is that I would stand-up to guys who try tried to intimidate me. Slap the senior who threatened me with physical violence if I did not buy him the cigarettes he wanted. Well, I am sure they will all rot somewhere, for their behavior.
Mostly, I fondly think of all the good days. Maybe I will watch the movie.
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
My advise: buy a car that makes you happy. I mean "Happy". Not just resale value, mileage and what others buy. Buy something tat you look forward to drive. It is something that you own, interact with and brag about - don;t you want a car that personifies who you are?
I love cars. It will always be that way,
Agreed, the US' newfound interest in India might be due its fear of the rise of China as an economic power. India, with its stable social and market institutions offers a counterweight to communist dominance in the region. However, that does not merit suspicion towards US' attitudes towards helping India. Particularly, in domains such as nuclear power. Nuclear power is essential to sustain India's continued growth into this century. Any help concerning technology and nuclear material is more than welcome. Does the Left believe that they can somehow solve India's impending power crisis by digging up more coal mines in their beloved state - West Bengal? I have nothing against Bengalis as such - except that they all seemed to be rooted in their past, forever. It is time they wake-up and leverage on their cultural legacy to lead the way forward by voting out the Left.
What the Left has done is unforgivable. The Left has placed their political fortunes ahead of the nation's interests. I hope the public and the Bengalis in particular realize this and penalize them in the upcoming elections. They need to realize that a pure communist approach that is anti-capitalistic does not bode-well for a resurgent India.