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Showing posts from 2010

Building simple system takes vision and discipline

Almost every entrepreneurs are building something today. From a mobile application to hardware systems to simple services. But the key challenges is always getting users to adopt them. This brings to an interesting field of product development which is off-course understanding your users.

Understanding users doesn't require any technical understanding of the system but instead requires more in-depth understanding of human senses and how they react. May be this is why today, the term "design" can be seen overused over the literature and talked about in conferences. I believe people use it often to catch eyeballs.

But I think that design is a core discipline of an engineer which is being taught but not stressed upon. The fundamental of control system is about creating efficient system that works better and that can be used better.

The excerpt below is taken from a blog post that essentially talks about making simple to use enterprise software. It is an interesting one. If y…

Best of Steve Job from his 1985 interview

In 1985 interview of Steve Jobs with the Playboy magazine, we can see some of the early vision in regards of Apple's future and business fundamentals. This was also the time when Apple had build its first MAC. Here are some of the most inspiring statements from him:

JOBS: Companies, as they grow to become multibillion-dollar entities, somehow lose their vision. They insert lots of layers of middle management between the people running the company and the people doing the work. They no longer have an inherent feel or a passion about the products. The creative people, who are the ones who care passionately, have to persuade five layers of management to do what they know is the right thing to do.

JOBS: What happens in most companies is that you don't keep great people under working environments where individual accomplishment is discouraged rather than encouraged. The great people leave and you end up with mediocrity. I know, because that's how Apple was built. Apple is an …

Collective Intelligence : An Interesting Thought

Here I was at the end of the week, and after a tiring Table Tennis match with Binit dai (brother in nepali) I walked with him to his flat. Till then I was unaware that I was about to have a very interesting conversation with him. And it all started with a vague question, "Dai, when do you think Sharukh Khan will die?" I asked this question as I was watching his photographs in a daily newspaper.

To this vague question, he replied "Most celebrity have less life expectancy due to their stressful lifestyle." Then he added, "There is this basic formula for life, the more you push in your life the less your lifetime becomes." Then he added a scientific fact to the statement that the heartbeat per second defines the total life expectancy. Large animals like elephant have very low heart beat rate compared to a rabbit, so comparatively elephants live more than rabbits. In same lines, tortoise has a very low heart beat and it can live up to 200 years. Then suddenly…

Opportunities and Success

Just before sleeping I decided to go through the first chapter of Outliers, one of the bestselling book on success and innovation. The chapter was so intriguing that it pushed me to think hard about myself. And I had only begun to read.

A very valid point was made in the chapter about the opportunities that people get in their life which pushes them to success and how baise these opportunities tend to be. A very intriguing example was given of how a hockey players in a specific region turned out to have similar birth months. No, it had nothing to do with astrology but a simple set of opportunities set out by the council of hockey which gave more opportunities to the people born in January, February and March.

It turned out that the council enrolled young kids for training at specific time which unknowingly gave kids born in January more chances of fitting the age bar and entering the hockey team.

As a result, these kids got head start in their life and rode on the opportunities toward…

Not all gears have to be round

Team management and collaboration is something that management and project leaders spends their whole time thinking about. The challenges is always about making every one perform to their optimum and at the same time improve the efficiency of the team. There are many thoughts regarding the team collaboration and management.

But one notion that everyone in the team needs to have equal efficiency and ability to work as a team is an interesting and contradictory one. Because its not always true. In a team every one can put their own effort in their way and help the overall team to move forward. There is no such thing like important entity of the team or important person, every one has their own importance and space in the team work.
Just like a engine, every part has their importance and even failure of the smallest component can result in a disaster. Therefore, the idea that every gears need to be round is in a way illusion. If all were round than it could be beautiful but the reality s…

Is Design the result of Frustration?

Design is a complex thing to define and further designer is a difficult thing to figure out. What you call design may not be a design at all. Moreover, it is very difficult to make out even if there has been any designing.

I have been trying to look into myself for answers and figure out what is it that makes me think that something is a design. I have been a passionate observer of design since my childhood, and I have promised myself to follow it till the end.

Recently, I have found that Design could be a result of a frustration. An immense urge to act so that the frustration could be pacified. It is similar to problem solving.

In one of the interview, Richard Feynman (physicist) said that problem solving is an act of getting rid of frustration.

He gave a good example of a monkey trying to reach out to the tree for the fruit. But the monkey could not reach out, so out of immense frustration, he grabs one of the stick and tries to shake the branch of the tree. This act is in it-self is…

The Fountain Head and Steve Jobs

I have been following this persona for quite a while, not because I own one of his products or that I find him god like. But simply because I find his character interesting and the decision he makes intriguing.

Long time back I had read a novel  by Anny Rand (The Fountain Head), the main protagonist of the novel - Howard Roark is an individualist who has high value for human integrity. He is also an architect which gives him more reasons to have those values. The whole story is a conflict between the ideas and value of human.

In overall perspective, it is a battle between objectivism and collectivism. The story also has other 5 strong characters with different ideology. Some are salve to society, some are manipulator, some are lost, some are broken and some are as strong as steal.

This was also the novel which pushed me to contemplate about the effect of media over human and how they are influenced to position themselves. I could not help reminding myself of the conflict between the a…

Dan Ariely asks, Are we in control of our own decisions?

Decision making is a fundamental action that we are involved in our day to day life. Every time we make decision, we have this feeling that we are making a right one. We look into the pros and cons of the situation and try to understand the effect of our decision. But we tend to forget that when we make decision we have cognitive limitations similar to physical limitation.

This video below is a very good presentation by Dan Ariely on how we are affected by the choices and how that influences our decision. It is a wonderful presentation.

Ten Graphic Design Paradoxes

In this age of information, graphic design has a very important role to play. It is the medium through which we perceive information. Hence, we find many materials regarding design and design thinking scattered around in the internet. I must say, design is one of the top topic which is always discussed in social networking sites like Twitter. And I myself, follow those discussions ardently.


There is one site called designobserver where many designers express their thoughts on the design philosophy.

Adrian Shaughnessy is a graphic designer and writer based in London. In 1989 he co-founded the design company Intro. He has written this wonderful paradoxes about Graphic Design that people usually relate with.

I will list the 10 points here, for full read click here.

01: There’s no such thing as bad clients: only bad designers. 02: The best way to learn how to become a better graphic designer is to become a client. 03: If we want to educate our clients about design, we must first educate …

Carol Bartz: Pyramids, Not Ladders

Walking along with your careers and making decisions along the way is a difficult choice to make. But then I found this beautiful video presentation given by Carol Bartz who talks about doing lateral things and creating a foundation.

I think this is one of the best way an entrepreneur can grow ahead, by doing a lot of lateral works and getting the bigger picture. 

Simon Sinek: How great leaders inspire action

This must be one of the most powerful and yet simple presentation on success and failure. Simon Sinek simply puts the basic facts of life with corroborative examples and case studies.

The main idea behind the story is that we have three layers of communicating our ideas to people : Why, How and What. If you move from Why to What, you are most likely to succeed but if you move vice-versa, its the opposite.


How Brands should leverage Social Media

Gone are the days, when you would sit in front of your TV set and watch your favorite show bugged by regular advertisements. Today, we store our favorite shows or subscribe to their channels, and watch them when we want to. We are even ready to pay for the favorite shows and watch them. Because contents have become so abundant, the demand for authentic and genuine content is rising. This is not bad because we all seriously need a proper content which adds value to our social life.

But when this happens, what will the advertisement agencies do? For many years, firms and companies have been ignoring the rising popularity of social media networks like Youtube. Brands were not just yet ready for the change. But once the cheese is removed from their original place, its best to re-start again.

Read Full Article here.

8 Rules of Prototyping

As an engineer or a project leader, it is of utmost importance to get your product ready for the market. And all this starts with an idea of the product itself. Today, the information is so omnipresent that it is easier to get lost into the jungle of products and forget the essence of engineering, which is prototyping.

There are many people around us who can build things and do unimaginable things, but there are very few who can make it to the market and succeed. In my years of experience and engineering studies, I have noticed that engineering is all about following the discipline of innovation and being serious about the overall picture of the innovation. Hence comes the importance of prototyping, cause, it’s the initial step which gives you the clear idea on how your product is going to look like and function.

Prototyping gives you a vivid idea about the essence of the product and lets you make further decision. Early today, I received a mail from NI instrumentation on their regula…

Toward a science of simplicity

George Whitesides talks about the nature of simplicity and how they can be achieved. The conclusion of the presentation resides on making simple, reliable and functional components at cheaper price, so that they can be scalable to support complex systems.

Marshmallow problem and Team Building

Provides a good insight into the product development process and the importance of team building. The main point is that every project has a deadline and a goal. Learning to reach to the goal in an efficient way is aim of every engineers and designers.

The video below shows how different people from different background perform with the test project of building the tallest structure.

Jeremy Brett and Peter Cushing as Sherlock Holmes

If there is any fictional character that I take seriously, than its no other than Sherlock Holmes. I was glad to have read his stories at a very early age. There is so much to say about this amazing consulting detective, through whom I have learnt a great deal about the Art of Problem Solving.

During my adventure with the stories of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. James Watson, I came across a realcharacter who had a tremendous influence on me - Jeremy Brett. Though I have watched other actors portray the legendary Sherlock Holmes. I must say there was no one better than Jeremy Brett.

Though, many might argue with me for many reasons, I stay by my words. I have no rights to compare another legendary actor Peter Cushing with Jeremy Brett. But, I stumbled upon two videos which makes a perfect case for me to point out the energy and the passion Brett brought to the scene.

Below are the two scenes from a same story - The Blue Carbancle. The story is superb and has many elements to it that makes the …

Dieter Rams’ ten principles to “good design”

Good design is innovative
Good design makes a product useful
Good design is aesthetic
Good design helps us to understand a product
Good design is unobtrusive
Good design is honest
Good design is long-lasting
Good design is consequent to the last detail
Good design is concerned with the environment
Good design is as little design as possible

Source : Wiki