Dec 21, 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.

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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 you find it useful, you should check out the original post here.
Mark Twain (or Ben Franklin, depending on your source) said, “If I had more time, I would have written a shorter letter.” This, in essence, is the challenge with simplicity. Building simple technology is not easy; it inherently takes much more work to reduce complex problems into simple solutions for people. Building products that suck is far easier, as David Barrett of Expensify pointed out in his post yesterday. Simplicity requires that you have user experience drive product management and solve problems with exceptional design. And it also means you sometimes have to say no.

Nov 21, 2010

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:

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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 Ellis Island company. Apple is built on refugees from other companies. These are the extremely bright individual contributors who were troublemakers at other companies.

JOBS: There's an old Hindu saying that comes into my mind occasionally: "For the first 30 years of your life, you make your habits. For the last 30 years of your life, your habits make you." As I'm going to be 30 in February, the thought has crossed my mind.

JOBS: And I'm not sure. I'll always stay connected with Apple. I hope that throughout my life I'll sort of have the thread of my life and the thread of Apple weave in and out of each other, like a tapestry. There may be a few years when I'm not there, but I'll always come back. And that's what I may try to do. The key thing to remember about me is that I'm still a student. I'm still in boot camp. If anyone is reading any of my thoughts, I'd keep that in mind. Don't take it all too seriously.

If you want to live your life in a creative way, as an artist, you have to not look back too much. You have to be willing to take whatever you've done and whoever you were and throw them away. What are we, anyway? Most of what we think we are is just a collection of likes and dislikes, habits, patterns. At the core of what we are is our values, and what decisions and actions we make reflect those values. That is why it's hard doing interviews and being visible: As you are growing and changing, the more the outside world tries to reinforce an image of you that it thinks you are, the harder it is to continue to be an artist, which is why a lot of times, artists have to go, "Bye. I have to go. I'm going crazy and I'm getting out of here." And they go and hibernate somewhere. Maybe later they re-emerge a little differently.

JOBS: I still don't understand it. It's a large responsibility to have more than you can spend in your lifetime—and I feel I have to spend it. If you die, you certainly don't want to leave a large amount to your children. It will just ruin their lives. And if you die without kids, it will all go to the Government. Almost everyone would think that he could invest the money back into humanity in a much more astute way than the Government could. The challenges are to figure out how to live with it and to reinvest it back into the world, which means either giving it away or using it to express your concerns or values.

JOBS: No. There are some simple reasons for that. One is that in order to learn how to do something well, you have to fail sometimes. In order to fail, there has to be a measurement system. And that's the problem with most philanthropy—there's no measurement system. You give somebody some money to do something and most of the time you can really never measure whether you failed or succeeded in your judgment of that person or his ideas or their implementation. So if you can't succeed or fail, it's really hard to get better. Also, most of the time, the people who come to you with ideas don't provide the best ideas. You go seek the best ideas out, and that takes a lot of time.

JOBS: Well, my favorite things in life are books, sushi and.... My favorite things in life don't cost any money. It's really clear that the most precious resource we all have is time. As it is, I pay a price by not having much of a personal life. I don't have the time to pursue love affairs or to tour small towns in Italy and sit in cafes and eat tomato-and-mozzarella salad.

Occasionally, I spend a little money to save myself a hassle, which means time. And that's the extent of it. I bought an apartment in New York, but it's because I love that city. I'm trying to educate myself, being from a small town in California, not having grown up with the sophistication and culture of a large city. I consider it part of my education. You know, there are many people at Apple who can buy everything that they could ever possibly want and still have most of their money unspent. I hate talking about this as a problem; people are going to read this and think, Yeah, well, give me your problem. They're going to think I'm an arrogant little asshole.

JOBS: The minute you have the means to take responsibility for your own dreams and can be held accountable for whether they come true or not, life is a lot tougher. It's easy to have wonderful thoughts when the chance to implement them is remote. When you've gotten to a place where you at least have a chance of implementing your ideas, there's a lot more responsibility in that.

Here is another great resource about Steve Jobs Perspective.

John Sculley On Steve Jobs, The Full Interview Transcript

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Nov 12, 2010

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 I remembered an old documentary about human body where it was mentioned that the main reason of aging is oxygen. Though oxygen is the life support of human being, it also has a double edge to it. Different form of oxygen is the main factor behind degradation of cells.
After a long silence to this thought, I asked yet another vague question, "Why do human beings have to be so restless? Why are they always thinking and doing something? Can't we simply exist?" To this he rebutted by saying that its not only humans but every living organism has a quest in life to exist, and continuously act accordingly. He then gave examples of how dogs and rats have adapted to the city life and have made their existence possible. And this is a true fact. Look at dogs how gullible they are? They have pampered human being to such an extent that a dog that doesn't wag its tail in front of their boss is simply not a good dog. Look how they have made their ways into human lives and co-existing as a part of human family.

This was the turning point of the conversation. Suddenly, from a simple scientific observation we were venturing into the reality of life - "Existence". This is when he shared a remarkable fact about human cells. Inside the cell we have something called mitochondria (power house of cell). But in the history, mitochondria and a cell was a different life system. Unicellular organism usually feed by engulfing other cellular organism. So in some faith of life, a cell engulfed mitochondria but instead of digesting it, a remarkable thing happened. Both the cell and mitochondria co-existed as one organism. The presence of mitochondria somehow enhanced the efficiency of cell, so someway they communicated to exist as one or we may say agreed to be one. Now its very similar to a dog and a man, somehow the presence of a dog in a family have started to make a family complete, making a presence of a dog important. As the new generation of the family exist, so will the dog's.

Every human cell has a unique identity of their own and is in a way an independent life. But its remarkable to see how millions and billions of these cells have coordinated in a godly fashion to exist as a human being. How do they know how to coordinate with each other. Who is commanding them? Because in all these examples there is no single commanding cells or identity involved.

For two human beings to coordinate, we have to communicate. Communication is a very important part of a society. But in case of cells and other life forms, how do they communicate with each other. What kind of consciousness do they have?
With casual seep of tea and popcorn, the conversation was a perfect ice breaker for some innovative thinking. So the next phase of this conversation, was to dwell deep into the aspect of matter and their consciousness. Then Binit dai said that there is something that have always fascinated him about life. The embroic process of human development is an interesting process. Initially, we have only one cell and the same cell multiply to be an embryo. But how do each cell know which part of the body they want to be? What guides their faith is a question that is interesting? This suddenly reminded me about the paradox of quantum theory. The fact that electrons show wave behavior has baffled scientific community for ages. Out of this fact a very important question have emerged - "During electron diffraction, how does one electron know where to land and what guides the path of an electron." Now I know that this has been explained by the wave nature of particle but it is an interesting question which shows that somehow these matter can communicate with each other is some interesting fashion.

This is the point where everything started to go murky. The whole question boiled down to collective intelligence of life. The fact that earth in itself is a living organism could be hard to take it, but once you follow the path of collective intelligence of how cell emerges to be human and human to community to Earth and may be to universe, it looks elementary. Though I have no evidence to prove, its an interesting thought to have.

This theory has an immense implication in every field. With this thought lingering in my mind, I looked at my cup to see it empty. So there it was a cup full of innovative thinking :). I jumped to my feet and left the flat leaving Binit dai to his thought and mine to jot down to this blog post. Hope you enjoyed.

Nov 10, 2010

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 towards success.

Though, it is not ignoring skills and intelligence. It surely points out the missed opportunities for other kids. In the chapter, more examples are given for different games, education and different scenarios.

And seriously, we have witnessed these facts even in our day to day life. We find people with opportunities more equipped with things to handle the day to day challenges. And I looked at myself and said, "What opportunities did I have and what I didn't?"

To start with, I was born in a city which gave me excess to advantages of city dwellers. But ironically, I spent most of my childhood in a small village, on eastern part of Nepal, which was a base for advance research on Agriculture (PAC), where my father was working.

Though, I did my early schooling in a village school which had less to offer than city school. The place I was living in was nothing like a village. It was a merge of high end research labs and villagers living in harmony. The people and the culture of the place is still something I idealized.

It was in this very village I had witnessed computers and large computer networks, despite the fact that the village had no telephone for inter communication. Amazingly, though the time was between 80s and 90s, I was able to see and experience Laptops before Desktops. I still find it strange because it was only after a decade I was able to own my own Desktop while I was doing my A level. Here I have given you an example of few gained and missed opportunities, based on location. But I have noticed that location sometime does not bother people who have strong will to succeed.
Now lets go to parenting. Today I have an engineering degree and a passion for building things and making it work.

This passion was seeded into me early on when my father gave me a LEGO as a first toy. I still remember the day he opened the box and gave me the pieces to solve. Since then I have never stopped dreaming about building and designing systems and working with it.

But my main point is that I did not become an engineer because I was given a LEGO and that I had fun with it in my early days. The important thing is that I was given an opportunity to explore things which luckily resonated with my interest and skill sets. (Because I still remember my father buying me a General Knowledge book on which I simply had no interest :) ) I was even lucky to have an uncle who was amazingly creative and inspired me to draw, build and even play music. Somehow, I still have a taste for music similar to him. This doesn't mean I was influenced, it means that I was lucky to have people around me with whom I could resonate. Now that is very important. I believe that every people have something interesting inside them and that they should get an opportunity to explore it.

Now, this opportunities to explore your interest is much more important than an opportunity to go into formal schooling and get a degree. Because once a kid finds his passion, he is bound to follow it till the end and success in itself is defined by his path. But in this weak education system, modern schools have a habit of narrowing down your options. I still remember how the amount of Art and Music class lessened as we marched to higher grade.

My point is that though opportunities play important roles in people's life sometime a little more hard work can balance the missed opportunities. Because looking at myself, I know that there were many points where I could not achieve certain things due to the lack of opportunity, but as time went on the homework paid off. My experience shows that when you realize that you are not able to do certain things better than other due to lack of knowledge, just remove your self from the rat race of trying to win. Step aside and work on your weakness and do a strong homework.

I could go on and on. But I thing thats enough. Further I do not know how the book will move forward and may be there are certain things that I still have not explored in this post. But when I get time, I will certainly do so. Also, feel free to share your thoughts on it.

Oct 28, 2010

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.

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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 simply doesn't allow that to happen.

So I stumbled upon this wonderful video on weird gears which demonstrates strongly how a different kinds of shapes of gears can be coordinated to allow efficient running. Remember that the coordination in gears are irrelevant to shape of gears but the coordination of the teeth of the gears. Similarly, team is not about efficiency and ability of the individuals but the coordination of them

Enjoy the video

Sep 12, 2010

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 a first act of solving a problem. In other sense, it could be a first act to design something to solve a problem.

Have you ever notice that all the scientific theories are born out of problem and not through the need of scientist to express. But on the other hand, every form of art like music, painting, writing has come out of need of artist to express. You can always find a trait or style in an artist, but you rarely find traits in scientist. The approach of scientist could be different but the solution always turns out to be independent of the style.

Therefore, every design is always trying to solve a problem. If it is not than I am sorry but its not a design. I would rather call that an art. Now this is a very controversial for me to be removing design from art. But seriously, I do not think art has anything to do with design. Every art is not a design, but all good design could be taken as an Art.

Art is always a result of self expression, an act to express your idea and thoughts and give them a form. Form could be writing, painting, music, blogging etc. But in the whole process of art, you are always dealing with your feelings and your identity. Your culture, your past and your values come out expressively through art, but not in a design. Though I could have some inner conflict with this idea, nevertheless I can live with it.

But a design and art could be fused together as well if necessary. For example, a sofa or a chair could be designed perfectly with a touch of art. Many would try to defend their artistic side to their design but I think it is up to the designer to decide what experience he wants to express, that is if he wants to.

In the same line, I would want to share something that Bruce Lee told in his rare interview. We all know that his way of fighting was precise and powerful. He said that when he wants to punch someone, he could display complex movement (like traditional Chinese Kong-Fu ). But he said that it was inefficient, instead he would focus all his energy in delivering a powerful punch. So we can argue that his way of fighting was not a art but a resolution to a problem - a problem of either truly defending yourself or attacking your opponent. Similarly traditional Chinese Kong-Fu can be taken as an art of expressing your body's strength and following a discipline.
Art always has rules(discipline) that you are not suppose to break. But not design. Design can be as revolutionary as possible coming out of nowhere and no relevance to past or present. Art can be priceless, but design always comes with a price of performance. You cannot compare arts, but surely you can compare design.

Remember that I am not arguing based on traditional definition of design and art. I am just using the words to identify certain form of process which we see day to day. I am not even trying to define art or design. I wish I could use any arbitrary term to describe what I am trying to but that would make no sense.

So yes, I think that design is a result of pure frustration of seeing something not work the way it should. Also art is always governed by an ego of an artist and it's existence are never questioned or justified. But a design is always governed by a problem and not by designer, hence they always need justification. Sometime mixing these two in your work could lead to disaster.

So when ever I see any form of so-called design, I like to ask 3 questions:
1. Does this solve any problem?
2. Is the decision made by Designer encouraged by the problem?
3. Do you see any sense of brand in the design?

I find the third question important to ask because most of the time, design becomes a style statement rather than being a true design. In such cases, designer is evolved in justifying himself rather than a design. Because when a design comes from a pure frustration, problem drives every aspect of design.

Well, I think I should end my monologue here for now and keep my mind to rest for a while :).

Sep 5, 2010

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 artist and critics which the novel has portrayed. After, years of my journey into entrepreneurship I still face those challenges of justifying decisions. Obviously, which can be mocked by many ideology.

The story and the philosophy had a strong influence on me too. It also had to do with the fact, the time I was reading this novel I was going through a lot of personal conflict. It was hard for me to put aside the story and its consequences. But since then, I have started to have my own perspective of the case and have somehow come to an equilibrium.

I have an impromptu characteristic, usually I make my decision on a blink of an eye. Sometime I feel I know what I like and what I don't instantly. It was on year 2009 that I stumbled upon Steve Job and was immediately pulled into his character.

Before that I hardly knew about Apple, though I was familiar with Macintosh and iPod, I had never cared to go in detail with their philosophy. Till then, I never thought that companies could have such high value engraved into them. May be this was because, I was never brought up to look around that way. But now, I can see their relevance in the society.

But once I started reading about Apple and its design, I was immediately drawn into it. Further, I could not help myself comparing the character to the character of The Fountain Head. It might have been my fancy but surely it is hard to find such similarity between the fictional and real character.

It has been now more than a year for my passion towards Apple products and I can definitely say that I have great respect for the company. But nonetheless, I donot have any reason to criticize other companies. I find that in this eco-system everyone has their own role to play.

Recently, I found a 1995 old interview of Steve Job. It was still the time when Steve was involved in NEXT and the first fully animated movie "The Toy Story" was still to be released. Steve talks about education, society and responsibility of human. I will just share few interesting remarks from the interview. If you have read Fountain Head you will understand that the resemblance of the philosophy of Apple or Steve is not a coincidence but a real one.
SJ: One of the things I feel is that, right now, if you ask who are the customers of education, the customers of education are the society at large, the employers who hire people, things like that. But ultimately I think the customers are the parents. Not even the students but the parents. The problem that we have in this country is that the customers went away. The customers stopped paying attention to their schools, for the most part.

DM: And the artistry is in the elegance of the solution, like chess playing or mathematics?

SJ: No. I think the artistry is in having an insight into what one sees around them. Generally putting things together in a way no one else has before and finding a way to express that to other people who don't have that insight so they can get some of the advantage of that insight that makes them feel a certain way or allows them to do a certain thing.

SJ: I get asked this a lot and I have a pretty standard answer which is, a lot of people come to me and say "I want to be an entrepreneur". And I go "Oh that's great, what's your idea?". And they say "I don't have one yet". And I say "I think you should go get a job as a busboy or something until you find something you're really passionate about because it's a lot of work". I'm convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance. It is so hard.

SJ: The market competition model seems to indicate that where there is a need there is a lot of providers willing to tailor their products to fit that need and a lot of competition which forces them to get better and better. I used to think when I was in my twenties that technology was the solution to most of the world's problems, but unfortunately it just ain't so. I'll give you an analogy. A lot of times we think "Why is the television programming so bad? Why are television shows so demeaning, so poor?" The first thought that occurs to you is "Well, there is a conspiracy: the networks are feeding us this slop because its cheap to produce. It's the networks that are controlling this and they are feeding us this stuff but the truth of the matter, if you study it in any depth, is that networks absolutely want to give people what they want so that will watch the shows. If people wanted something different, they would get it. And the truth of the matter is that the shows that are on television, are on television because that's what people want. The majority of people in this country want to turn on a television and turn off their brain and that's what they get. And that's far more depressing than a conspiracy. Conspiracies are much more fun than the truth of the matter, which is that the vast majority of the public are pretty mindless most of the time. I think the school situation has a parallel here when it comes to technology.

DM: You need passion to build a company like Apple or IBM or any other major company. Once you've taken the passion to that level and built a company and are in the position like a Bill Gates at Microsoft or anybody else, yourself, what are the responsibilities of those who have succeeded and have economic power, social power? I mean, you've changed the world. What are your responsibilities within that?

SJ: That question can be taken on many levels. Obviously if you're running a company you have responsibilities but as an individual I don't think you have responsibilities. I think the work speaks for itself. I don't think that people have special responsibilities just because they've done something that other people like or don't like. I think the work speaks for itself.

For full interview visit here.
By the way, when I decided to write this, I wrote it because I found the character in The Fountain Head and Steve Jobs very compellingly similar. So after posting it when I searched for the similar subject, I found that I was not only the one who thinks so..

Sep 4, 2010

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.

Jun 22, 2010

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.

Artwork by Tea Design

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 ourselves about our clients.
04: If we want to make money as a graphic designer, we must concentrate on the work — not the money.
05: For designers, verbal skills are as important as visual skills.
06: Ideas usually fail not because they're bad ideas, but because they're badly presented.
07: “I’m a professional: I know best
08: “All the good jobs go to other designers.”
09: The best way to run a studio is to be domineering and forceful.
10: If we believe in nothing, we shouldn’t wonder why no one believes in us

Jun 18, 2010

Cameron Herold: Let's raise kids to be entrepreneurs

At TEDxEdmonton, Cameron Herold makes the case for parenting and education that helps would-be entrepreneurs flourish -- as kids and as adults. Bored in school, failing classes, at odds with peers: This child might be an entrepreneur, says Cameron Herold.

Jun 14, 2010

David Byrne: How architecture helped music evolve

This is a very interesting talk on how the vessel or the medium is the key of how the emotion takes its shape. David Byrne goes on to compare different music style and their venue and how they fit perfectly to each other.

At the end, I could not help remembering  Marshall McLuhan's statement "The Medium is the Message."

May 28, 2010

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. 

May 25, 2010

Sir Ken Robinson: Bring on the learning revolution!

This one is another of Sir Ken Robinson's finest talk on education. In this poignant, funny follow-up to his fabled 2006 talk, Sir Ken Robinson makes the case for a radical shift from standardized schools to personalized learning -- creating conditions where kids' natural talents can flourish.

Jonathan Haidt on the moral roots of liberals and conservatives

Jonathan Haidt talks beautifully about the moral values that we gain as a basic instinct and how they change with time. The presentation also sheds light over who the liberals and conservatives plays as a yin and yang of our modern society.

May 18, 2010

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.

May 12, 2010

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.

May 9, 2010

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 regular newsletter and the topic was 8 rules of prototyping, as I read through the paragraphs I found the article very relevant and thought of adding my own views on it. Below are the eight points noted by NI, but I am going to add my own understanding of the scenario and make a clean breast of it.

Read the Full Article here.

May 6, 2010

Sherlock Holmes - The Art of Deduction

Sherlock Holmes might just be a fictional character but there is a great deal to learn from the story about the art of deduction.

Here, I have found a compilation from the TV Series played by Jeremy Brett.

Part One

Part Two

Apr 30, 2010

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.

Apr 24, 2010

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.

Apr 20, 2010

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 real character 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 scenes below an important one.

The scene includes an important statement being made by Holmes. When Holmes asks Watson to examine the hat, Watson queries about the hat. And Holmes says laughingly,"Only one of those whimsical little incidents which will happen when you have four million human beings all jostling each other within the space of a few square miles."

The statement below is not included in the TV adaption : [Amid the action and reaction of so dense a swarm of humanity, every possible combination of events may be expected to take place, and many a little problem will be presented which may be striking and bizarre without being criminal. We have already had experience of such.]

Now, the statement is certainly one of its kinds. Its long and complicated but has deeper philosophical meanings to it. Now watch how both of the actors deliver them and you will understand my point. In the second video, its better to start from 3:40.
Peter Cushing

Jeremy Brett

Feb 24, 2010

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

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