Monday, November 29, 2004

Chennai Corporation to collect only segregated garbage

Come December 4th and the Chennai corporation will only collect segregated garbage. This, I think, is a good initiative. It's important that we citizens too realise the value of having recyclable garbage recycled and non-recyclable garbage segregated. I remember in IIT Madras, we used to have SWARM - Solid Waste Recycling And Management.
A voluntary group working in IIT, Solid Waste Recycling And Management (SWARM) has been trying to reduce the waste to the minimum and keeping the campus clean. [from Information for New Faculty, IIT Chennai]
In Chennai, studies show that of 3,500 tonnes of mixed waste reaching the dumping ground everyday, over 1,200 tonnes is organic which can be composted. That's a significant 35% of the total waste. It's good that the Corporation has declared that it will not remove mixed waste. Are we all listening? Have we started on this already?

Meanwhile, some pertinent questions from my wife:
1. Will Onyx continue to bring a singular vehicle that aggregates the already segregated waste?
2. How will the maid-servants of the houses know where to go and put these two types of garbage?
3. Will the green bins on the road be marked 'recyclable' and 'non-recyclable' henceforth?
4. Most people put recyclable waste into polythene / garbage bags and dump them. Doesn't it reduce the effectiveness of the initiative? How will Corporation solve that problem? Do we have to use bio-degradable bags?

Some food for thought? And this is no waste...

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

I work at AdventNet, Chennai and blog in AdventNet's public blogs too. Here's my latest as I felt like putting it up on my Pervade blog too.

I'm frankly impressed by the branding exercise of Tata Motors. The name 'Indica' connotes a passion for things Indian. People take a pride in owning a car from their own country. Next, they extend the car to a sedan from hatchback and name it Indigo. Next, they identify that the cars of Indica's size are good ones for taxi / cab type of services. So, they modify the Indica product and change the tail lights etc and rename it Indicab!

Now comes the weekender that's called Indigo Marina! This is an extension of the Indigo Brand itself! So, they have an almost full-blown range of Indica-Indicab and Indigo-Indigo Marina.

Cool work by them.
Visit the AdventNet blogs once a while - you get to see some interesting posts on technology.

AMD is nipping at Intel's heels

Advanced Micro Devices (AMD, for short and for convenience) is gaining marketshare from its archrival Intel. They've been foraying into newer areas and slowly penetrating various markets. Even in India, they've come out with a PIC (Personal Internet Communicator) in collaboration with Tata Indicom (read more news here). The PIC is expected to cost $ 185 which is roughly Rs.8510 and is psychologically an important number because it's not a five-figure!

This, in my view, is a good move and they can put paid to Intel's unquestioned dominance of the personal computer market. Apart from this, apparently, there's a move to get Dell to use AMD. Check out portions of Kevin Rollins' interview with Infoworld News (complete interview here):

Infoworld: It seems a lot of your competitors have supported AMD. What is your stance on that?

KR: Two things. I am sure there will come a time when we are going to use AMD. The products have been getting better. The acceptance is getting better. But we have not been suffering as a company for either growth or profitability because we haven't had AMD. In fact, frankly, I think just the opposite. The companies that have been using AMD have been doing the worst.

Infoworld: Interesting. So do you see AMD being a viable competitor in the long run?

KR: Yes we do. The technology is better, and in some areas now they are in the lead on Intel. That is what interests us more than anything. But we have not been losing a ton of business because we haven't had AMD. At the end of the day we have to be profitable and grow, and so that is going to be the main indicator of what we might do. But my guess is that we are going to want to add that to our product line in the future.

People, brace up for a chip war that will be no chip off the old block!!

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

The Bootstrapper's Bible

Seth Godin's Bootstrapper's Bible is available for free download from ChangeThis. Pretty interesting though it can get very long after some time. I read his 'Survival is not Enough' and was inspired by this book that 'Zoom' became my blogname at my workplace. Now, Bootstrapper's Bible is not so racy as Survival... was, but then, Seth's got a way with conveying thoughts and making one think, in the process.

Cool work Seth!!

Haloscan commenting and trackback have been added to this blog.

Market Makers - Cavin Care

I'm currently on the finishing stages of the Post-Grad Certificate in Business Management from XLRI - you might've seen some of our blogs at PGCBM Chennai Blogs. I'm working on a project called Market Makers (the stuff that created new markets like GoodKnight mats, Google Search Engine etc). And the topic I've chosen (along with other batchmates) is Cavin Care - the cosmetics company that revolutionised the shampoo market in India with its introduction of Sachet Shampoo.

I'd be very interested to meet Mr. C.K.Ranganathan who pioneered this concept. I intend to write to him to setup a meeting. Will update this space later with inputs.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Power Plays in Business

I was reading a case on trans-national corporations such as ABB, Philips and Matsushita. I guess as a business increases in size, there's power play and politics that come in the way of better productivity. In that context, I even theorized the following:
1. Any diversifying, distributed business will very likely have a Corporate HQ that assumes lot of power in the overall decision-making.
2. How well the various units perform and enable high productivity depends on how important do the units consider it to create their own lobbies and lobbyists at the Corp. HQ.
3. How independent and empowered the units can become depends on how large the Corp. HQ is kept.

Here's a brief explanation of each:
1. As there are distributed businesses, the Corp HQ will very likely take charge of global strategy, directions and long-term planning. Each unit will be empowered to make its own shorter-term plans and execute them, in sync with the overall group's global strategy. Given that the Corp HQ will have a say in how much of resources can be shared with each of the units, the units will try to lobby with the Corp HQ to grant them more resources in terms of investment, manpower, network channels etc. If the resource-granting exercise is more political and less strategic (which is likely for a transnational since the granter may belong to a group/country that may be at loggerheads with that of the receiver!), then this will give rise to lobbies and lobbyists.

2. If the above resource-granting exercise is done on the merits of the unit's business plan, the group's strategy for the unit's (and it's location's) future, the merits and acumen of the leadership in that unit, then one can be reasonably sure that the units receive reasonably good resources vis-a-vis what they ask for. But, if it's not so, then vested interests are bound to prevail and you'll surely see lobbies.

3. This is the most important piece. Imagine a corporate and its units to be like a circle surrounded by many disjoint circles. Now, each unit, inwardly is battling for a share of the resource pie (again). So, the important thing here is that they have to battle among themselves (inward competition - good for the customer, good for goodwill, good for business). But, imagine the middle circle (the Corp HQ) to be pretty large. What happens is that the units do not recognize others across the circle. They are blinded by the size of the Corp HQ that that becomes their paramount in terms of getting favours. At such times, how do you expect the units to be increasingly productive.

What are the advantages of a small decision-making body?

1. Everyone will know everyone else. There is likely to be a good gel-well feeling.
2. Everyone will be empowered to make big decisions. This way, turnaround time for big decisions is much less.
3. There are too little people in the centre for other units to effectively lobby!! Efficiency of intra-corporate transactions is very high.

So, summarizing, when you have a large business to handle and you have taken a route to distribute it, keep the central decision-making body small enough so as to have a good perspective on what's happening, get the units to compete against each other and flourish even in troubled times!

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Quality Linked by Conversation

"The quality of an organization is directly linked to the quality of conversations of the people in that organization."

Came across this interesting quote. The site was not my find but referenced from Don Iannone's Blog on Economic Development Futures Web Journal.

Change This

I've been following up on the manifestos posted in ChangeThis. I find them particularly interesting and relevant.

The most interesting one I read so far was that of Tom Peters on the truths about offshoring.

He argues for the recognition of basic economic laws that will drive offshoring and outsourcing to the place where one gets the best value for money.

I also read through Joel Spolsky's Strategy Letter 1: Ben and Jerry's vs Amazon. Though outwardly it's edible material, inwardly, one's bound to make differences to one's business in terms of 'land grab' for a certain period of time and a 'slow and steady' in another time.

I think Joel's not taking into account the twin factors of 'Period in Economy' and 'Maturity levels in the industry'. For example, if you're in a Period in Economy where people talk of a 'boom', then, a 'land grab' outlook will do you good. But, if you're in another period where there's no talk of boom and there's talk of consolidation, cost-cutting etc (as is happening in big industries like manufacturing, telecom etc), then you probably have to go 'slow and steady' with reasonable exit barriers.

Also, I argue that when an industry becomes really big - again, like manufacturing or telecom, then it's reasonable to expect that its maturity levels are much higher than, say, a smaller industry like on-demand, web-based enterprise applications that's probably 4 years old and probably 40 times smaller in terms of value.

Overall, ChangeThis is a very good initiative and will help people widen their perspectives on how the world works (or should not work).

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

vtiger Open Source products

vtiger is an open source initiative that promises to bring highly affordable enterprise software through effective and intelligent packaging of open source components. This initiative is funded by AdventNet.

Currently, vtiger has released vtiger CRM and vtiger Forums and plans to increase its set of offerings over time.