Friday, December 28, 2007

Outsourcing ATM Maintenance - Next big business

This is one of my speculations - things I feel will be the next thing coming.

Of late all of the cell phone service providers have been hiving off the the setting up and management of the cell phone towers into separate business and some of them are even selling them off to third party tower management. What I think ultimately will happen is that the tower companies will put up the towers and manage them and they will lease out space on the towers to cell phone service providers to put their equipment on them. This has a a lot of benefits

- The same tower can be used by multiple cell phone vendors thus sharing the cost of ownership
- Takes away the management of towers away from cell phone service providers thus helping them to concentrate on their core business
- Ensures someone is looking after setting up new towers and also managing them thus giving better performance.

On a similar note there has been quite a bit of news lately about RBI wanting banks to allow customers to use any ATM to withdraw money with no extra charges (Right now if you use an ATM of another bank the charges can vary from nothing to Rs. 50). As a consumer this is a wonderful idea and banks that have few ATMs (HSBC, Kothak Mahindra Bank, etc) love this move and are all for it since they get a wider ATM network for free and on the other hand banks that have a large ATM network (SBI, ICICI, etc) suddenly lose their edge of having a wide ATM network.

What I feel will happen is that banks will do something similar to what cell phone service providers are doing and will hive off their business of setting up and managing ATM networks into a separate business and ultimately sell it off to third party vendors. That way the company that owns the ATM network can charge various banks on the transactions done on the ATM. I think the same benefits the cell phone service providers get from selling off their tower businesses will be applicable to the banks doing this. This way it benefits the bank and the consumer and the RBI gets what it wanted.

Lets see if this is what will happen.

Monday, December 17, 2007

He sure can "break" anyone

I was driving the other day and I noticed this truck filled with sand in front of me and a couple of things caught my eye.
  1. The spelling of power "break" (should have been brake) and I thought to myself if this guy even nicks my car I will for sure be broken - so it is quite appropriate.

  2. Notice the guy sleeping on top and relaxing - this is a moving truck and he looks like he is sun bathing on top
Well thats India for you - you never know what you are going to see next. So when in India always keep your eyes open and your camera shutter off :).

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Not so frequent posting

For the next two weeks life is going to be a bit too busy to post everyday - the reason being that ourspace.in is having its annual christmas sale and I am helping out there. I am sorry about this and I thank all my regular readers for coming back each day and checking if there is something new that I have posted.

Please use the new features that I have added to the blog and that is to be notified by email or subscribe to the RSS feed. That way you don't have to come everyday to the website. In case you have any queries in using either of these features do let me know by mailing me at sudeep.dsouza (at) gmail.com.

I thank all the readers who come to my blog for giving me an average viewership that is out of the single digits for a complete month now. This is for the first time I have achieved this since I started writin my blog almost 3 years ago.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

How wrong can Sunil Gavaskar get ?

Being a bit busy with life and work and not getting much time to follow the cricket match - I was intently reading the sports section of today's paper and saw that India pretty much lost all hope of winning the match on Day 3. So I started to read some of the columns to understand what happened when I came across a column by Sunil Gavaskar that said "Ishant not yet ready for Test cricket".
And then this is what I read at the end of Day 4 - Ishant takes a 5er. Congratulations Ishant and I hope you continue to defy all your critics.


The point to note here is that commentators and columnists have to be careful about what they say and write. Ishant is just starting his career and something like this from someone as experienced as Gavaskar is totally out of line.

This is not the first time that this has happened and if you have noticed they never apologize or accept that they made a mistake which makes them look bad to the public.

The Christmas Sale is back

For the second year running we are conducting the annual Christmas sale at St. Theresa's Church at Erragadda, Hyderabad. This year we are back with a lot more variety. We have also been able to get Crib sets which was requested by a lot of buyers last year.

So if you are in and around Hyderabad please do visit our sale. Also spread the news among your family and friends about the sale. Check out the Christmas Sale website that we have put up.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Funny name for a training institute

I really wonder what they would have named their institute if they were teaching "hardware" !!!

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Managing teams is like managing simultaneous equations

As a follow up to my article on Life is an equation you balance all the time I will talk about imagining the management of teams to be similar to managing or solving simultaneous equations. So if you have not read the first article please do so before continuing.

In the first article I looking at managing oneself as similar to managing an equation with multiple variables and coefficients and having a constant on the right hand side. Now when you associate multiple individuals together each one of them having their own little equation to manage it starts to get a bit complex. Teamwork is being able to manage the equations in such a way that everyone in the team has similar goals (variables) and these responsibilities have similar priorities (coefficients) since the constant on the right hand side is always going to be the same. If everyone in the team have differing goals and priorities then you will never be able to solve the simultaneous equation and that is when the team work just does not work.

External pressures and individual goals always tend to distort the equation, it is not possible to eliminate these so a balance needs to be brought about between the variables that represent the team goals and the individual goals. If this balance was not there then due to the one person that did not manage these coefficients the equation may never be solved and team work gets hit.

It gets a lot more complex for individuals since they will always work in multiple teams - Family can be one team, you may be involved in multiple teams in the office, society and so on. So each individual is part of multiple simultaneous equations at the same time. So one needs to not only manage each individual equation but also manage the number of simultaneous equations one gets in to - since the more you get into the more complex it gets.

So the key in making a team work together successfully is
  • Make sure everyone is aware of the goals - so that you are dealing with similar variables in all your equations.
  • There should be a balance in the individual equations between personal goals and team goals.
  • Be a part of few teams and make quality contributions rather than being a part of a lot of teams.

Friday, December 07, 2007

A walk down SAP Street

This morning I walked down the famous "SAP" Street (that's what it is called by most locals) in Ameerpet, Hyderabad. Below is a map of the path that I took.


This is where the software industry first started off in Hyderabad - but now it is quite infamous for all the stuff that happens here. The streets are filled with banners proclaiming to teach anyone anything from any ERP application, data warehousing, languages, testing practices, testing tools and the list goes on. Name it and you can find the training here for it. Now one may say that this is not that bad a thing to have - you are training people in technologies that will be useful to them. But that is not the case - There is no real quality training happening. These institutes also play on the minds of the impressionable - they hook them into one training course and then make them take a series of them promising them jobs and lucrative careers both in India and abroad. I have known a lot of people that have been cheated by these so called training centers.

I have heard that these training centers offer a lot more other than training. Some of the services that they offer that I have heard of are as given below.

When you are doing a course in MCA/BTech you need to do

projects - these institutes will give you complete source code with the documentation of the project.

Any certificate in showing that you are trained in anything under the sun is possible. Pay the course fee and you will get what ever you want.

If you want an experience certificate some of these training institutes have single desk organizations with a complete website that provide you experience certificates complete with background verification.

They can send you to pretty much any part of the world - just ask for it.

I have personally had two experiences with these institutes that were not too pleasant - one was where I was trained by a so called "faculty" from one of these institutes and she knew nothing about the subject that was being taught. And the second experience was where we needed to hire some developers very quickly so we thought that we can check out if any of these institutes had quality people that were being trained and hire them. You can read more about that experience here.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

How do i tell my readers I have posted on my blog?

Continuing on my series of posts on blogging in this second part (The first part was How do i start blogging) I talk about the problem where I used to post pretty infrequently and there was no way for me to tell my readers that I had posted something new. That's when I searched around for a service that could notify them that something new got posted and I discovered the joys of RSS. To quote wikipedia "RSS makes it possible for people to keep up with their favorite web sites in an automated manner that's easier than checking them manually."

So the next question is how do I make my blog available on RSS - after a bit of searching around I found feedburner. There are a couple of things in Feedburner which I think are must haves on your blog - one is to make your website RSS friendly and the second is to add a widget that allows your readers to give their email address and whenever there is an update to your blog they will get a mail.

Now this may reduce the number of people coming to your site to check for updates but what happens is that if there are no posts for a while then the readers tend to get put off and stop coming and then there is no way of informing them that there is an update on the website. It is better to have a visitor coming occasionally when there are updates rather than stop coming at all. And if you want them to come more often then you have to post more often - it is as simple as that.

Like all google products (I know google bought it - but then its now googles) it is easy to setup and use. So there is nothing really stopping you from using it and it will only enhance your blog or website. So go ahead and use Feedburner to burn your site and make your readers happier. I will continue posting articles on blogging as and when I gain experience in developing my blog.