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25 August 2007

Statement Sums

The homework for my son (who is studying in class 3) this week is to frame questions based on the mathematical equations given. I am giving below some of the bangalore specific questions that he could have framed.

1. 680-425
There are 680 trees in Kanakapura Main Road. Of this BBMP cut down 425 trees to widen the road. How many trees are left on the road?
2. 6280-4254
There are 6280 employees in Infosys. Of this 4254 are dollar millionaires. How many employees are not dollar millionaires
3. 10-4
Every day Ravi plays 10 games on the internet out of which 4 are boring games. How many interesting games Ravi plays in a day on the internet
4. 20-15
Ram has 20 friends in Orkut. Out of this 15 are boys. How many girl friends does Ram have on Orkut?
5. 5284-5132
Out of 5284 houses in J P Nagar, 5132 houses violate construction rules. How many houses in JP Nagar are constructed without violations
6. 100000-22324
Mr. Gowda got Rupees 100000.00 from BMC for asphalting the main road. He had to pay 22324 as bribe to the BMC official to get the work approved and payment released. How much money did Mr. Gowda earn out of this contract?
7. 9-3
In his 10 year career, Rahul's father has changed 9 companies while in his 9 year career, Vishal's father has changed only 3 companies. How many more companies has Rahul's father changed than Vishal's father?

18 August 2007

Aap apna vajan kam keejiye - 2

Walking has become slow, says I to the good doc
It is two steps forward, one back
What is the problem, can you please check?
My good doc, I no longer can walk fast

Checks my pulse and my pressure,
Probs my tongue with a torch,
Thumps me on the ribs , the good doc does
You are fit as a fiddle, informs he

Not like a fit fiddle, more like a wheezing flute
If I am fit why am I not able to walk fast?
Problem is with your weight
and your girth, says the good doc
It acts like a parachute and makes your movements slow.

What do I do? Asks I,
Please reduce your weight
"Aap apna vajan kam keejiye"
Says he giving me a bill of 500 bucks
How do I do that? ask I all a quiver at the bill
Go for a brisk walk in the morning, informs he with a wink

(How do I do that pray tell me,
when my problem is that I can't walk fast
The situation is dicey
Logicians call it 'circular reasoning' )

17 August 2007

Aap apna vazan kam keejiye (Please reduce your weight) - 1

The cycle does not ride well, I tell the repair man
What seems to be the problem? asks he
When I order it to move,
There is reluctance, there is laziness too,
I observe some delay in obeying my command,
Even in the down slope, this machine wants to stop!!

Oh, says the good man, Ah, says he,
Scratches his beard, deep in thought.
Oils the links, greases the chain
Taps all the nooks and cranny with his little tapper.
Gets up he at last, look at me in the eye,
I don't see any problem, says he
This machine runs as smooth as a gazelle.

Oh no, I counter,
If this is how a gazelle runs, I can only pity it.
This runs like a lame snail more than any.
Why don't you take a closer look,
I entreat, I beseech
In the morning, when I ride
All I get is the pain of the morning ride.

Oh, says the good man, Ah, says he
Scratches his beard, deep in thought
Let me take another look,
May be I have missed something.
Aha, says he for a change,
I have identified the problem,

What is it, I ask all expectant,
The reason for the machine's lassitude?
The problem is not with the vehicle, informs the good man
The machine is designed to carry 70 Kilos,
With you it is carrying almost double that weight.
The problem, he informs me, is with you
'Aap apna vajan kam keejiye
Machine theek chalega!!'
(' You please reduce your weight
The machine will ride well')

14 August 2007

Indo US Nuclear Deal

Crazy this deal. Who has benefited out of this?
In India the left says that India has 'capitulated' to US.
In US, opponents to the deal say that US has 'capitulated' to India
Who has capitulated to whom?

13 August 2007

More on Quality

How do you define quality?
Experts agree that it is very difficult to define quality. Essentially this is because of two factors. One, the idea of quality is linked to both physical and emotional aspects and two the perception of quality differs from individual to individual.
Most of us will agree that it is very easy to spot poor quality. Just look at the pot holes which have formed in the road two days after it has been laid and you have an example of poor quality of work. Or look at the amount of honking that you hear on the roads and you have a poor quality of driving. Or for that matter look at the vague sound that your bike is making as soon as it comes back from the service centre, and you have an example of poor quality of servicing!!.
Just look at the third example above, will you?
You are just hearing a vague sound in your bike. You are not even sure if it was there before it was given to servicing. You only know that the bike went for servicing and suddenly you are hearing / feeling a vague unidentifiable sound. Immediately you have decided that the servicing was of low quality.
This is an example of perception of poor quality linked to the mind of the individual. While the first two examples are linked to physical objects creating poor quality (pot holes on the road, unnecessary honking of horns etc) this one is related to the mental makeup of the individual and his 'vague sound tolerence' levels.
This is what makes quality so difficult to quantify. You can always identify poor quality. But can you identify good quality?
An incident which happened in one of our training sessions come to mind. The facilitator asked us to write down the name of the music system that each of us would buy if we had no money constraint.
All of us wrote 'Sony' as our first preference.
There you have an example of quality!!.

10 August 2007

Lesson from Traffic Jam

Recently, while coming to my office in Whitefield (supposedly an outskirt of Bangalore!!), I was caught in a monster of a traffic jam. The traffic extended to either side like an ocean. Fortunately all the drivers followed the traffic discipline and patiently waited for the jam to clear.
Not this BMTC Volvo bus driver. Like a smart alec, he cut the lane, went over to the opposite side and totally flouted the one way rule.
Since the other drivers were patiently following the traffic rules, the other side was totally empty and he was able to completely bypass the traffic jam and reach the destination.
His action of breaking the traffic rules, however, started a chain. Soon almost all the vehicles crossed over to the other side following the mail culprit which was a Volvo Bus.
And soon enough, there was a jam on the other side of the road with the vehicles coming in the opposite direction unable to proceed
The original culprit who started this mess had managed to get his way. He probably is not even aware of the huge chaos that he has left behind.
This set me thinking
This is the way it normally happens in an organization. You have a challenging assignment which need your people to work as a team. You recruit this snazzy, fast talking , impressive recruit who promises the moon. He comes with impressive credentials and has loads of experience in this area. His CV shows a lot of movement from one organization to another and you nebulously wonder why he had to change many organizations, and you attribute it to his ambition.
This guy is good, he achieves the desired result in the given time and is quickly moving ahead in the organization. He is the darling of CEO and is considered to be a potential star in the organization.
The person who replaced this superstar is not able to meet the high standards set by his predecessor. This new incumbent is an organizational veteran with proven credentials in his previous roles and has been always considered to be a systems and process person. It is a surprise that he is not able to meet the impressive performance of his predecessor. The organization compares the new guy with his predecessor and finds the new guy wanting (didn't the previous incumbent face similar challenges and achieve stellar results?).
The organization wants to know why. Why is it that this obviously smart and efficient person is not able to meet the standards set by his predecessor? It can't be that he is incompetent. He has a very successful track record of managing similar situations. You decide to talk to him.
He informs you that the team is very low on morale. It is highly demotivated and absenteeism and attrition levels are very high in the team. Some of the stars in the team are reportedly fed up and are looking out for similar or better opportunities outside the organization. They feel that the organization do not care for them anymore.
Wasn't this the best team in the organization? Didn't it contain some of the best performers in the organization with reputation of thriving on challenges? How can this team be low on morale? What has happened?
The aggressive predecessor has managed to steamroll the team and meet his targets. His tight control ensured that the organization did not come to know of the damage he is causing to the team morale. The incentive system in the organization ensured that the person who achieves the target is given good incentives - as it should be. But the organization did not have a monitoring mechanism to ensure that the objectives are ethically achieved and in the light of an individual achieving the objective, the organization is also strengthened.
The predecessor is the Volvo bus. He bend the organizational rules and managed to meet his target. The organizational mess that he has left behind is the traffic jam.

08 August 2007

Vets charges

A man takes his pet duck to the Vet. Vet checks it and expresses the opinion that the animal is very sick and do not have much time to live. He wants to confirm.
He goes inside. Out comes a labrador. It comes near the duck, smells it for some time and then shakes its head negatively and goes inside. After some time a cat comes out, smells the duck and shakes its head and goes inside.
The vet says that the animal is definitely not going to survive for long and gives the man a bill of 500 rupees. The man is surprised and challenges the vet at such a high amount on the bill.
" If it was only my opinion, I would not have charged you this much", says the vet. "But considering that my opinion is confirmed by lab report and cat scan......"

This joke is from the latest issue of RD.