Wednesday, December 30, 2009

2009: A Good Year

Accomplished in 2009

  • Graduated from top Business School
  • Got a job at the company I really wanted to work for
  • Backpacked across Europe covering 10 countries, 15 cities
  • Traveled more cities in the US
  • Spent good time with family
  • Read about 20 books both fiction and non-fiction including Politics, Philosophy, Society, Pschology and sciences
  • Watched over 50 movies and documentaries
  • Completed 3 big oil on canvas paintings
  • Moved to Australia
  • Started working and still have a job :)
  • Watched the NYE Sydney harbor bridge celebration (always wanted to do this one)
  • Abseiled for the first time
  • Snorkeled for the first time

Didn't accomplish
  • Not enough diversity in activities
  • Didnt learn a new skill
  • Wasn't able to learn spanish
  • Didn't spend enough time on sports. (in hind sight not as true. Did play lot of volleyball, some basketball and Tennis. Could have done more though)

Priorities for 2010


Travel
  • Trip to New Zealand – 10 days
  • Travel back home for holidays
  • Great barrier reef
  • Perth on a weekend
  • Planning south American backpack for 2011
  • One or two more random short trips

Activities
  • Get better at Salsa. Learn Tango or swing!
  • Learn surfing
  • Learn Spanish – Join classes?
  • Improve fitness
  • Some more outdoor activities and sports
  • Learn some non-Indian cooking
  • 3 more Oil paintings during the year
  • Exploring writing and documentary film-making
  • Read min 20 books, atleast 10 fiction/10 non-fiction
More as I think of them...
Skipping a few personal items from the list for obvious reasons.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Timeline for MBA applicants

I have been asked several times about whats required for an MBA applicant and by when. While I think every application should be doing a thorough reserach and acoming up a detailed list and plan, I have prepared a rough list to get one started. Please take this with a grain of salt as I applied almost 3 years back and I am writing this from memory.
June - July
  • Research schoolsread blogs
  • Get insight into different programs/best fit
  • Introspect - Why MBA, What after, is this the best choice, which regions?
  • Contact bloggers/current students to get thoughts clear, get better insight
  • Read MBA application books
  • GMAT/TOEFL prep
Aug
  • GMAT done
  • TOEFL done
  • Recommenders lined up
  • transripts secured
  • School list complete
  • Spreadsheet with requirements by school
  • Initial answers written down - Why MBA - What do you plan to do immediately after - Why schools - Short and long term goals - Strength and weaknesses - resume - Prep on 1- minute narrative
  • Sign up for MBA roadshows, school admission events
Sep-Oct
  • Visits - Round 1 and 2 schools
  • Networking with current students and alumni/Admission events
  • Round 1 (Essays, recommendations, Application forms)
Oct End - Round 1 applications complete
Nov-dec
  • Networking with current students and alumni
  • Round 2(Essays, recommendations, Application forms)
  • Round 1 - Interviews
Dec End - Round 2 applications complete
Jan-Feb - Round 2 interviews

Friday, November 27, 2009

Life of a consultant

There is no typical day for a consultant but this is example of week on a traveling case. Again schedule depends from person to person and case to case. Also, this is based on my first couple of weeks on my first case so take this with a grain of salt. However, this should give you some insight into what to expect.

Monday
5:30 AM - Get up
6:30 AM - Cab to airport
7:30 AM - On flight, hello to other team mates on the flight and quick updates. catch up some quick work/reading for the case or get some more sleep
9:00 AM - land in Melbourne
9:45 AM - Client office
9:45 AM - 10AM - E-mails, quick chats, some planning
10 AM - 11AM - Joint planning meeting with client
11 AM - 12:30 - Getting done to some work Primarily follow ups but also Analysis, planning, data gathering or thinking time
12:30 - 1:00 PM - Lunch with team
1:30 - 2:00 PM - work stream planning and updates with Case team leader
2:00 - 3:00 PM - Discussion with partner
4:00 - 7:30 PM - get down to work
7:30 - 9:00 PM - Dinner and D chat with case team leader
10:00 PM - 12:00 PM - finish up days work. Must do work for client presentations next day

Tuesday
6:00 AM - get up
6:30 AM - 7:15 Am - Gym
8:15 Am - at work
8:30 AM - 10:00 AM - Call to international clients
10:00 AM - 11:00 AM - issues/roadblocks/planning discussion with CTL
11:00 AM - 12:30 PM - work
12:30 PM - 1:30 PM - working lunch and case team discussion
1:30 PM - 7:30 PM - Work (Data collection, Analysis, client calls, Thinking time, brainstorming, discussing hypothesis, solutions)
7:30 PM - 9:00 PM - casual dinner with team or other traveling consultants
9:00 PM - 11/12 - urgent work for next day

Wednesday

Very similar to Tuesday some different meetings, different activities. More stressful.

Thursday
Simlar except

5PM - Catch cab to airport
Work in the airport/plane and back home if a C-level client meeting is coming up.

Friday

9 AM - At Office
9 - 10 AM - E-mails, catch up
10 - 11AM - Administrative work, expenses.
11 AM - 12PM - Work
12PM - 1PM - catch with other consultant/friends over lunch
1 PM - 4PM - Very focussed at work. Get things done!
4 pm - 6 PM - Office meeting(once a month). Drinks and cake(always)
7 PM - After work drinks...

Ready for weekend

Saturday, October 24, 2009

“Matter” Don’t really matter?

This post is continuation of the previous post on scientific discoveries and insight on the nature of matter that we have gained over past couple of hundred years.


http://anandologue.blogspot.com/2009/10/on-matter-knowledges-great-progress-to.html


Whenever I discuss these topics with others, most ask me why it really matters. Does knowing what “matter” is, of any significance to the common man? Is an understanding of these phenomena necessary?


Despite having extensive experimental evidence for the classical theories, quantum mechanics and relativity, they are neither widely known and understood nor accepted. This baffles me and I can only speculate on the reasons why. Many people find scientific concepts complex and difficult to understand. Surprisingly this is also true in most developed countries. The difficulty stems from the lack of proper grounding and good teaching methods in early years, which cultivates a lack of interest later in life.


The other reason could be that many are more concerned with day to day life to ponder about these questions. Living in the society of today is all about earning a livelihood or pursuit of happiness which is increasingly becoming the pursuit of money, luxury and comfort. While there is nothing wrong with this it also happens to be a never-ending pursuit. We have lot of more technology, amenities and comfort than compared to a few centuries back but do we really lead happier and fulfilled life? Important thing to note that marginal utility of any desire decreases as it becomes increasingly available.


The third reason could be metal comfort. Sometimes there are ready answers provided to us that we grow up with. It’s much easier accepting them and living within these bounds rather than question the artificial bounds itself. Also, what we learn early in life seems familiar and forms our intuition and as a result what we already know seems intuitively right, regardless of merit or correctness of the belief. That’s why new information doesn’t seem to matter that much.


So, why does it really matter? Well! How do you go about life if you don’t know what you are really living for? I find this important and significant but I am in the minority. Would you play a game without knowing the rules? What if you start playing a game that you don’t know why you are playing and you have to figure out the rules as you go? Someone else who has played the game explains a loose set of rules they figured out when they played. You find they apply in some situations but not in others. Would you continue playing believing the handed down set as true or make an attempt to find and improve your understanding? For YOU to play the GAME, isn’t it important to know the RULES or would you rather play the same way irrespective of the rules?


To add to all this very few of the discoveries of the past century are taught in schools these days. And when we grow up we continue to live our lives based on things we already know and have accepted. Very few seek out new knowledge and still fewer accept it, especially if it challenges the very core of what we have believed. “Surely, I can’t have been mistaken all this while!” “In any case I have done okay living the way that I lived so why should I change what I believe here on?” “It doesn’t really matter” Hence the greatest discoveries of the past couple of centuries are kept but for a few to enjoy and pass on. Others just go on to say “There is so much we don’t know perhaps will never find out” Never for once bothering to look!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

On “Matter”, Knowledge’s great progress to thousands of years back

“Divisibility” The Greeks started with it! They thought all matter was composed of smaller particles down to single unique and indivisible particle called “atom”. They were right that all matter was made up of atoms but wrong in the sense that it was the smallest unique, identical particle that constituted all matter. However, one interesting notion that came out of this idea was the fact that whatever we see around us is all essential made of the same thing.


Almost couple of thousands years later there came J. J Thompson, his experiments and pumpkin model of the atom. We found electrons and later we found Protons and Neutrons. “Oh! There are smaller particles!” This gave birth to particle Physics. Further down the road we realized that protons & neutrons are made up of Quarks and Electrons of Leptons. These were now considered the elementary particles that made up all the matter. So why did we stop there? Surely if atoms could be made of smaller particles and protons & electrons of smaller particles then ever our elementary particles could be made up of smaller particles too? And that’s what happened! More we searched smaller particles we found but this would not go on endlessly.


On a parallel track, Quantum mechanics took up where classical mechanics left off. Experiments and theories such Max Planks’ Quanta, Einstein’s Photo-electric Effect, De Broglie Wave-particle duality, Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle formed the basis of Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics. While quantum mechanics gave us unparallel insight into the small world, Einstein relativity theories finally answered the puzzles of the big world and heavenly bodies.


By 1920 we were begun to understand not only how matter is composed, how it interacts, how forces are created and how macroscopic properties arise. However, we had one major problem. Relativity and quantum mechanics did not agree. It was difficult to account for gravitational forces at subatomic level and quantum effects for large bodies. Both theories within their spheres, however, had plenty of experimental evidence to prove them irrefutably correct and accurate. This was one of physics biggest problem which is still unresolved to this day. Nevertheless, from 60s till now String theory of Universe has come long way in addressing these problems. Essentially what the string theory proposes is that the entire Universe is made up of one thing – tiny strings and all the matter and forces in this Universe are made up of different configuration of these strings. Those you have read books on Quantum mechanics, Relativity or the string theory would understand that in the last 3 paragraphs I have been trying to outline what essentially requires detailed discussion and substantiation. In fact the book “Elegant Universe” does a good job of walking through these theories in fairly simplistic terms.


So now I can finally come to the point that I am trying to make, which would not be possible without this background. The point is that we are beginning to realize or believe that Universe is entirely integrated body which at its very granular level is made up of the same thing. All different forms of energy, forces and matter are created of different configuration of the same unique material. Well some may say why did this take us so long to realize? Ancient Vedanta Philosophy said the exact same thing around 800 – 1000 BC, almost 3000 years back. They also highlighted principles of truth and reality that are now quite consistent with our understanding of quantum mechanics as well as modern philosophies regarding human perception of truth and reality, in particular Kant’s. Question is, have we rediscovered the same knowledge that existed thousands or years prior and interpreted in a different way. How did we fail to build up on something that already existed and make a full circle?

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Documentaries

There was a time when documentaries were factual and boring. With the advent of Discovery, National Geographic and others they have become more and more interesting and entertaining. On the other hand their neutrality, factual correctness and objectivity have suffered. Lots of them now have a pre-conceived agenda rather than exploring both sides of an issue. Nevertheless, I find myself seeing more documentaries than ever. I have listed down a few I have watched and hope others might find them interesting as well. Generally, I like independent productions but some of my favorite ones have been produced by BBC Horizon series. I have attempted to rate them as well as put indicator on objectivity. I know many are turned off by Documentaries that are totally nonobjective.


+/- Objectivity (+ being more objective)

My top 3
The Trap: What Happened to Our Dream of Freedom - 5.0 +

The Ascent of Money: The Financial History of the World - 5.0 ++

Human, All Too Human: Nietzsche 4.5 ++

Society
Rageh inside Iran - 4.0 ++
The Ascent of Money (http://www.pbs.org/wnet/ascentofmoney/) - 5.0 ++
Human, All Too Human - Nietzsche - 4.5 ++
The world according to Monsanto - 4.5 +
It felt like a kiss - 3.5 -
The Century of self (4 part series) - 5.0 +

Religion
The Story of God - 3.5 -
The God Delusion - 3.5 +
Religulous - 3.5 --

Politics
Fahrenheit 9/11 - 4.5 -
Occupation 101 - 3.5 --
Freedom to Facism - 3.5 --
Power of Nightmares(3 part series) - 4.0 +

Health
Sicko - 4.0 -
Super Size me - 3.5 -
Magic Weed - History Of Marijuana - 3.5 +
Ecstasy Rising - 4.0 +

Science & Environment
Journey To The Edge Of The Universe - 3.5 +
A Brief History of Time - Stephen Hawkin’s ideas about the Universe - 4.0 +
The Elegant Universe - 4.5 ++
How Does Your Memory Work - 4.0 +
Uncertainty Principle - 4.0 +
An Inconvenient Truth - 3.5 +

History
Auschwitz: The Nazis & The Final Solution - 3.5 +
Tryst with destiny (Fall of the British Empire) - 4.0 +

Updated Oct 21 2010

Saturday, September 26, 2009

More financial troubles ahead?

The news of legislation to increase oversight on Federal reserve got me curious about their current state of affairs.
More on proposed legislation >

I wanted to investigate how much Fed's credit has expanded in the past year see if there are signs on trouble as we emerge from the recession. Its the first time I'm looking at Fed's balance sheet and am not even sure I can understand it. However, whatever little I did understand makes me very nervous.

Reserve bank credit has almost double the past year from $1.1 trillion to $2.1 Trillion. About $900 Billion of it coming in increased Treasury Securities. But I also noticed that fed has about $690 Billion in Mortgage backed securities. I wondered if this was marked to market which I doubted and the footnote provided more details.

"Guaranteed by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and Ginnie Mae. Current face value of the securities, which is the remaining principal balance of the underlying mortgages"

It appears that they are not marked to market but at face value of remaining principal balance which is cause for concern as these were trading at 10 cents to the dollar when they were bought. Most market participants thought that they would collect the fraction of the face value due to defaults. Fed is holding off selling these MBS for now but when the eventually do sell them they might incur a huge loss. I wonder what it means for a central bank but a $300 - $400 B loss on $2.1 T balance sheet can't be good.

Coming bank to increased credit and corresponding increase in treasury securities, it has to be inflationary. When the economy shows any sign of recovery inflation might be a big problem leading to a weak dollar. Further, holders might look to offload their US treasuries leading to Dollar plummeting. We might be in for serious currency crisis with lot of volatility world over.

Again, I am not a economist and most of what I have said is speculative. However, whatever I do understand is concerning. I did search for other who might be looking at fed's growing balance sheet. While most did say inflation is on cards I found this one particularly interesting saying that its not necessary and not inevitable. This one's explains it via basic marco-economic principles.

All said and done I am still wary of another impending shock and I think its best to be prepared.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Iran vs. USA - Other side of the coin

Wouldn’t you be pissed if a foreign country helped overthrow your democratically elected government in favor of Dictator? (1953 Iranian coup d'état) Now if that’s not enough what if when the Dictator was overthrown in favor or republic, however skewed, and this country called you Totalitarian? (Iranian Islamic Revolution of 1979) Isn’t that a perfection definition of Hypocrisy? What if this power supplied Biological and Chemical weapons to another country you are at war with and had every intention of using these weapons and they did end up using them. (United States support for Iraq during the Iran–Iraq war) Would you trust the foreign power? What if that power labeled you as evil? Would your reaction be shock, disgust or hate? This may be Iran’s view of the USA as all the above incidents are actually factual.

There is the other side to the story which we are more familiar with - The Iranian revolution, Iran hostage crisis(Iran hostage crisis), the Islamic repulic and represive life in Iran. Maybe the US view of Iran is also equally justified. However, what started what? who is good and who is evil, right or wrong? Quite often it’s not as simple as right vs. wrong or Good vs. evil? Conservatives in US will like you to think otherwise and live in fear. Read and understand the events and make your own judgment!

Iran and US relations

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iran–United_States_relations

In future don’t be so ignorant about Iran. Learn more about the life in Tehran

Rageh inside Iran - http://tinyurl.com/r9hnte/

Don’t trust people who want to force an opinion down your throat. Read history and make your own judgments.

Added on Oct 05, 2009 - Something else I found on the net related to the topic

http://www.salon.com/opinion/feature/2009/10/01/cole/

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Foreign language films

I guess the word "Foreign" depends on what your native tongue is. For me its Hindi though I watch far more English i.e. Hollywood movies. However, of late I have starting seen more Hindi i.e. Bollywood movies as well as films in many different languages. I compiled a list of some (other than Hindi and English) I have watched with rating on 5 point scale hoping that like me it provides those who are bored with traditional blockbusters an oppurtunity to enjoy something different. I know I am missing some good Chinese and japanese movies but i'll include them soon. Here is the list -

French
Paris je T'aime (Paris, I love you) - 4.0
Belle de jour - 4.0
Delicatessen - 3.5
Manon des source - 3.0
Il y a longtemps que Je T'aime (I loved you so long) - 4.0
Quand j'étais chanteu (When I was a singer) - 3.5
Auberge espagnole, L (The Spanish Apartment) - 4.0
Trzy kolory: Bialy (Three colors: White) - 3.5
Baxter - 4.5
Le fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain - 5.0
Le scaphandre et le papillon (The diving Bell and the butterfly) - 4.5
Nikita - 4.0
Leon - 3.0
Der Name der Rose (The name of the rose) - 3.5
Irreversible - 3.5
A girl cut in two - 3.0
Three colors: Red - 3.5
Une Hirondelle a fait le Printemps (The Girl from Paris) - 3.0
Le Placard (The closet) - 4.0
Les rivières pourpres (Crimson rivers) - 4.5
Masculin-Feminin-4.5

Italian
Il Postino (The postman) - 5.0
La vita è bella (life is beautiful) - 5.0

Polish
Short film about Love - 4.5

Danish
Pistoleros - 3.5

German
Jerichow - 4.0
Das Leben der Anderen - The Lives of others - 3.5
Die Fälscher - The Counterfeiters - 3.5

Spanish
The Spanish Woman - 3.5
Motorcycle Diaries - 4.5
Amores Perros - 4.5
La misma Muna - 4.0
Fermat's room - 4.5
Hable con ella- 4.0

Serbian
No Mans land - 5.0

Portugese
Cidade de Deus- 4.5

Arabic
Bikur Ha-Tizmoret (The Band's visit) - 3.5

Persian
Offside - 3.5
The Song of sparrows - 4.0

Cantonese
Blood brothers - 3.0

*updated Oct 21 2010

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Euro Trip - All about the Expenses

As promised I'm posting the details of the expenses on 50 day Euro trip by category. I would have loved to find something like this while planning my trip and thus decidde to record, consolidate and post these details. I hope this helps others plan their trips.

My total expenses for the trip were Euro 3,635 over 50 days all inclusive. I'd say that we were careful with our money but not too stingy. We did save a lot on food and hardly ate any expensive meals. I didn't do any shopping other than souvenirs. Still, its possible to do this on much smaller budget. Eastern Europe is especially great value for your money!

Here are the details below:

Notes:
Northern Europe includes Belgium, Netherlands, Germany and Denmark
Eastern Europe includes Poland, Czech republic, Hungary and Austria
Southern Europe includes Italy and Greece

Tips:

1. Make sure to book your flight tickets early
2. Optimise your Euro rail pass. It helps a lot in Northern Europe but some of the Eastern European countries are not included. To save money you could book a pass with lower travel days and pay on the go for one or two trains in Eastern Europe
3. Train reservations cost about 5-10 Euros per reservation and are mandatory on most trains
4. While booking Hostel look out for ones with good kitchens; will help you save money on dinner
5. Be careful about cleanliness while picking hostels. Sometimes you'll pay a premium for Hostel fun and culture but in our experience it was always worth it
6. If you like to go out and have fun, definitely don't restrict yourself. Its better to buy few beers at groceries and have them to start of your night and save $$
7. If you are student, make sure that you get an international student id which costs about $24. It saved us over 50 Euros each. Especially useful on longer trips
8. Be aware of the transaction fees charged by your cards. Always use your debit card to withdraw cash. Pay by cash everywhere. The exchange rate and fees on credit card is a rip off
9. On Inter-city transport Euro Rail is worth it for longer trips. For short trips consider your alternatives such as the bus and sub-urban trains and not using your EU rail pass
10. For Iintra-city travel figure out whether you can cover city on foot or you need to take the metro. If latter, how often. Sometimes its better to buy individual tickets and other times a day pass, multiday pass or group passes. Ask at the Hostel about this the day you arrive.
11. Evaluate howmany museums/sites you are going to visit and whether a pass is better than individual entry. You get great discounts as a student under the age of 26. If thats available to you make sur enot to miss it.

I'll add other thoughts as and when I remember

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Look back at Euro Trip

My 50 day long trip acroos Europe covering 15 cities was exciting, adventurous and exteremely enjoyable. Though I kept a personal journal noting down events and thoughts it would be quite some effort to type that online and would be incredibly long as well. Also, not everything in there is for public consumption. However, so those who did not follow me on twitter as i kept tweeting along the trip, I decided to compile all the tweets into one blogpost. This might provide you some idea of my day to day expereince. For my friends on FB you have access to my pictures too. I plan to follow up this post with another about some planning tips and Finances for anyone intending to do something similar.

Day1: Super excited as I startmy 2 month, 14 city Euro trip today!
Day 2: Just landed in Amsterdam and checked into my hostel. Looks great, right in the center of everything. Ready to head out after a shower
Day 2: walked around, explored the city and did what everyone does in Amsterdam on Day1
Day 3: headed for the museums today. Took the walking tour yesterday which was fabulous! Slept at 3:30AM last night, easing into party mode!
Day 3: Break on through, to the other side!
>Day 3:Escape nightclub was good but have seen better!
Day 5: End of exciting but exhausting and expensive Amsterdam! Heading over to Brussels today
Day 5: Found the 'Grand Place' in Brussels truly awesome. Lots of museums to cover tomorrow before heading to the Euroferia festival!
Day 6: Really enjoyed Brussels, it has some amazing sights and vibrant street culture. Also managed to dance salsa at 'Euroferia' festival
Day 7: Antwerp is lot more than a Diamond trading city; great plazas, cafes, restaurants, cathedrals and other sites. Loved the day trip out
Day 7: People mainly speak French in Brussels but I don't really mind, its great to hear even if you don't understand most of it!
Day 7: Caught up with Henri at 'Delirium', exchanged travel stories and drank some delicious beers!
Day 8: First long EU rail journey from Brussels to Hamburg. Enjoyed the countryside scenery and the rail trip
Day 9: Hamburg: took the walking tour to cover most of the city; checked out the port and other areas in the evening. Beer's cheap here!
Day 10: Its been 10 days of rain, wind and chilly weather, come on, I thought I was on a summer tour.
Day 10; Hamburg: Kunsthalle (Arts Musuem) and Maritime museum were both amazing; 'Reeperbahn' was interesting, though less said the better!
Day 11: Took the train that loads on to a ferry onroute hamburg to Copenhagen; so cool!
Day 11: Reunited with Kapil!
Day 12: Copenhagen: walked around the city; checked out Christiana, Rosenberg Garden and castle and the little Mermaid
Day 13: Copenhagen: covered the national museum and Glypototek; Copenhagen is a pretty expensive city but has beautiful parks and sights
Day 14: Long train ride from Copenhagen to Berlin. The hostel looks amazing, good, cos we are here 5 days. Lets get the party started!
Day 15: Berlin: Took the walking tour and explored the city on foot for almost 9 hours. Berlin is an amazing city with so much history!
Day 16: Berlin: Sachenhausen concentration camp by day; Pargammom Museum in afternoon; Pub crawl at night; Partied till the sun came up!
Day 17: Berlin: covered 4 Museums, climbed up Reichstag for an awesome view and checked out the WWII ruins of the old church
Day 17: Berlin: 10 hours on foot + 7 hours pub crawl - 5 hours sleep + 10 more hours on foot = Very Very tired!
Day 18: Berlin: The palaces in 'Postdam' were great; so was the east side gallery. Another pub crawl tonight....yipeee!!
Day 19: Long train ride from Berlin to Warsaw. On first sight Warsaw looks great. Its Saturday night....ready to head out and party!
Day 19: Lithuanians, Mexicans, Indonesian, Taiwanese and Indian all partying together in the polish capital....how about that!
Day 19: Third night this week of partying till the sun comes up, Phew! Didn't know Warsaw was such a party town. Now I know!
Day 20: Warsaw: Walked around and covered the Royal Castle and Starego Miasta.
Day 20: Warsaw: Gorgeous city with beautiful and nice people, lovely squares and streets. I <3>
Day 21: Warsaw has some excellent expansive parks; 1944 Uprising museum was great; Completed bookings for stopover at Krakow & Auswitch
Day 22: Just landed at Krakow from Warsaw. First sights are interesting; btw have I mentioned I love the Polish, they are nice.
Day 23: Went saw Auschwitz. No words can describe the madness that happened there. Headed to prague tonight.
Day 24: Stranded somewhere in between the Czech and Polish border! Hurricane; No trains, no Buses...No-one speaks English!
Day 24: 7 AM-Bonhium...8AM-Train to Ostrava..9:30 Train to Polom...10:30- Bus to Hranice...4:30PM - Prague..finally! 10 hrs behind plan!
Day 25: Prague: Walking tour was amazing! Prague is such a colorful city; great history and sights. Prague castle is magnificent!
Day 25: Prague :7:30AM back from a night of partying....need some sleep! btw advice..never try 4 shots of Absynth in one night!
Day 26: Walk along the river was great. Hard to keep up the pace on 3 hours sleep. Prague is amazing though, on every level!
Day 26: Prague: "Karlovy lázně" one of the best night clubs I've seen. 5 storey, different music every level, packed and awesome!
Day 27: Traveled through Slovakia to reach Budapest. Slovak countryside was beautiful. Budapest at night looks awesome!
Day 28: Budapest: Checked out the 'Pest' area. 'Heroes square' looks imposing. St Istvan Bascilla and Vajdahunyad castle were interesting.
Day 28: Budapest: Covered National Museum and Buda area including the Royal castle. View from up top were amazing! Enjoyed the Turkish bath!
Day 29: Budapest: Drank some beers in the park and played bridge to celebrate Yohan's b'day. Doesn't seem too exciting but it was fun!
Day 30: Traveled from Budapest to Vienna. Wombat's hostel is awesome. Watching Wimbledon & doing laundry today. Hang out at the bar later
Day 31:Interesting night last night at the Hostel! Sleepily explored Parliment, Gothic cathedral and Museum of Fine arts today. Tired now!
Day 32: Vienna: City of Palaces that reflect the pomp and glory of its Imperial past. So many of them, I wonder if they had other hobbies?
Day 33: Vienna: Covered Pasterplatz and Danube island and feel like dancing to Viennese waltz. On to Italy; headed to Venice tonight!
Day 34: Arrived in Venice via overnight train. Getting lost in Venice is not too bad, beautiful streets, canals and scenery.
Day 34: Sitting on the Venice waterfront on a beautiful full moon night listening to Pink Floyd..dreaming...drifting...
Day 35: Venice: Palace Ducale was quite intriguing. Blue waters, canals, gondales, tourists..beginning to see what Venice is about.
Day 35: Venice: 1.5 Ltr wine for 2 Euros is a very good deal. It makes me :)
Day 36: Venice: Moreno Island is a real gem. Narrow alleys, lovely bridges and great waterfront views! btw plenty more wine tonight :)
Day 37: Enjoyed the train ride from Venice to Florence. Nice Scenery. Archi Rossi Hostel is Florence looks great!
Day 37: Florence: Blown away by the beauty of Florence. Night life on Wednesday is top notch as well!
Day 38: Florence: Explored sights around the city. Florence has an long and interesting history. Its also a great place to people watch!
Day 39: Straighened theLeaning tower of Pisa, walked city of Sienna and was thrilled at the site of 'Il Campo'
Day 40: Not sure if two hour wait for The Uffizi gallery was worth it. Good but not the best Ive seen. btw toooo many Americans in Florence!
Day 40: Florence to Rome. First night in Rome, a night of partying. This Hostel is crazy!
Day 41: Rome: Everywhere you look in Rome you find things from thousands of years back. 'Trevi' Fountain is incredible!
Day 42: Rome: Colusseum is magnificient. Was amazed walking through the old Roman city. Its amazing how advanced Roman's were!
Day 43: Vatican is Grand; Sistine Chapel by Michelangelo - Magnificient, breathtaking, jaw-dropping.. words don't do justice!
Day 44: Borghese gallery is one of the best Private museums I have seen; Rome has too many great Plazas; Last night in Rome :(
Day 45: Rome to Athens: Ran for about an hour with 25kg backpack thanks to italrail efficiencies, $#@#; lost 15 Euros to Ticket machine :(
Day 46: Acropolis is quite amazing though I wish it was better preserved. Its hot, Hike up is not fun, New Acropolis Museum is good though
Day 46: Athens: Checked out the night scene and local drinks with a Franco-Greek group! Interesting experience, made for good conversation.
Day 47: Hiked up Fillipananou Hill. Another very hot day! Guess who found in Athens - The Indian Navy - crew from INS Delhi and INS Beas.
Day 48: The Roman and Ancient Agora are incredible. Some ruins date back to 6th century BC. Might the beach parties tonight!
Day 49: Day trip to the Island of Aegina. Crystal clear waters, green sea and sandy beaches. Drove around the island on scooty. Good fun!
Day 50: In Abu Dhabi enroute to Mumbai, then onward to Bangalore. Will be home in about 16 hrs!

51 days,15 cities,10 Countries,100+ sites,60+ Churches, over 30+ Museums, 25+ drinking nights, 10 pub crawls and Euro trip is finally over!

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Europe Travel Itinerary

Posting my Europe travel itinerary on popular request









Friday, May 29, 2009

Reflections on my four year in USA

I first came to US in March 2005. It was my first time away from Indian shores. After graduating from college I had started working for IT services firm in Pune, India in 2002. This was the first I lived away from home. Three years down the line I had my opportunity to play a client interfacing role by moving to Minneapolis US. Something, that was meant to bring both money and career opportunities. 


Even though I was brought up in a pretty liberal family and grew up watching western television, NBA, listening to Bryan Adams, Bon Joni, GNR, my first impressions can still be described as a culture shock. Though, an infrastructure shock more aptly describes it. I was amazed at the scale of everything, the roads, highways, the number of cars, Malls, numbers of stores, the downtown landscapes. The culture shock was more confined to the openness of society and what was considered acceptable.


Minneapolis was where I was going to be and as expected I was greeted by chilly pre-spring weather. I took up work with all excitement at both working with new and different people as well as enthusiasm stemming from a new role. Over the couple of years, my biggest lesson at work was perhaps the professionalism that everyone showed in how they acted and communicated. Though I always considered myself well equipped on the former, I developed significantly on the latter aspect. Outside work I was thrilled by the number and diversity of opportunities for entertainment. America is a much more open society than India which offered its own benefits and I came to like it very much. Like everything that has its ups and down but for now I was enjoying myself thoroughly.


Suburban life in Minneapolis didn’t appeal to me as much and I moved downtown. Though I enjoyed living in downtown much more, I realized that it had its own drawbacks.  I then moved uptown which was perhaps one of the best living experiences I have had in my life. The big lakes close by provided ample space to run, walk or hang out. With plenty of small bars, cafes at stone throw and very diverse, open and young crowd, every day was exciting and fun.


Slowly but surely I got introduced to US consumerism. At first I was amazed at the quantities and numbers of products each individual buys and consumes. As time went on, I was appalled. Most people didn’t need as much but they used it anyway because they could! Having grown up with lot of poverty around in India, I felt that I had more appreciation of what it means to live modestly and within means rather than being extravagant. I ended up having many arguments and discussions on the topic with friends. Opinions were always divided.


My stay in US and increased dollar salary opened up opportunities for further travels. Within US I visited New York, New Jersey, San Francisco, Niagara Falls, Detroit, Las Vegas, Chicago, Philadelphia, Atlantic City, Yellowstone, and places in Illinois, Dakotas, Minnesota countryside, and outer banks.  I even went up north to Toronto and surrounding areas in Canada. Pretty soon I started looking beyond US shores and visited France, Spain, Australia in the last couple of years and while at Darden.


Having lived in US for couple of years I realized that higher education especially Business education was really good here and decided to apply to the top business schools in the country. Fortunately I made it to Darden and headed down to Charlottesville for my MBA. Darden experience was fabulous and enriching. I’ll skip the details here as I already have several posts on my Darden MBA experience.


Socially, however, Charlottesville was a very different experience than Minneapolis. I had encountered some bias or differentiation in the past in US but frequent and systemic way it happened in Charlottesville had a profound negative effect on me. In fact I have no come to believe and accept that outside the bigger cities in US which are cosmopolitan and diverse; people are very conservative in their beliefs and narrow minded in their outlook. I can also say that this is not a US problem alone and I have seen it everywhere I have been and I am pretty sure that India suffers from such prejudices as well. On the other hand on the issue of religious freedom, US is surely are far behind other developed countries. I would definitely contest about US’s secular credentials. There are so many references to God, Christianity and Christian beliefs in everyday life that it would be difficult for anyone of a different faith to not feel marginalized. I could be right or wrong about all this but I talk from my personal experiences.


On the positive side I really appreciated US entrepreneurial culture and economic freedom it provides to its citizens. There are but few hurdles to starting your own business and people seem to take that option more than anywhere else in the world. Once you been here some years you realize that why indeed US has become so prosperous. I admire the fact that US has preserved its founding fathers vision of individual rights and liberties. However, sometimes it takes the notion of capitalism too far and does not think of providing for the needy. I do not like how socialism is portrayed in the US and I hope thinking will progress in future. After all the underlying concept of socialism is equality.


Focus on economics perhaps leads many to develop the Winner-loser mentality. There is great appreciation for money and power. You are somebody if you have either or reflect it in some way. At the same time, you can’t get far unless you market yourself well. This is why people spend so much on appearance either personal or household. I would like to think or it is my opinion that in the East, at least in Asia, people are judged on action and character more than on appearance and this in turn converts to status and appeal. This however is broad generalization and like every such generalization somewhat inaccurate and definitely controversial.


It’s quite hard to cover over four years of my life experiences in one post. I have been blogging for about the same time and have written over hundred posts. So this is post is by no means comprehensive but rather the few things that come to mind immediately about my experiences here. The thing I cherish the most about my experiences here are the friends I have made and the amazing moments I shared with them. I have indeed learnt a lot and developed as a person both in personality and intellectual thought. I am certain this change wouldn’t have occurred if I was in very familiar setting I grew up in. I believe that diverse experiences are required to develop a person.


In conclusion I leave US with mixed feelings. I am certainly going to miss my friends. There are many comforts and opportunities that US provides that I am going to miss as well. However, the most comforting thing I find is to be close to your good friends and family. Since India is on the other side of the world, anywhere I move gets me closer to family. Nevertheless, I have more good friends in US than anywhere else in the world and I hope I can keep in regular touch with them and see them often. I am on the other hand excited for a new phase in my life, new adventures and opportunities. I leave with mixed feelings. 

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

I'm a MBA

This Sunday, May 17th I graduated from Darden School of Business, University of Virginia with a Masters in Business Administration. It was a very proud moment for me. I attended both the UVA and Darden ceremonies. The UVA ceremony highlighted the history, tradition and prestige of this great university. Darden ceremony reflected a sense or community, personal touch and celebration.



UVA ceremony started with the procession in front of the admiring family, friends, alumni and other visitors and we then took our place in front of the dias. As every school walked out there was huge applause all round. Soon after the speeches of the keynote speaker the dean and the president of the university awarded the degree School by School, again to huge cheers and applause. Our joy and sense of pride on being awarded the degree in such a historical place amongst an admiring crowd is indescribable. The feeling of History and tradition was all too evident. 


After the UVA ceremony we immediately caught a shuttle back to the Darden grounds where we lined up for the procession. Again we walked amongst family and friends and took our seats in front of the stage. It was raining a bit but we were all excited to continue with the ceremony. The words of our Dean "There is a little rain out there but if that doesn't bother you, it surely doesn't bother me" met with a huge cheer and highligted the spirit of the graduating class. This was followed by an excellent and entertaining speech by a fellow elected classmate. Soon we were again lining up to collect our diplomas from the Dean. I received a "faculty award for academic excellence" which pleased me no end. It was definetly an exciting and joyful day for me.


Thursday, April 23, 2009

Leadership and Diversity - Learning from Rosseau

Today in our SY class "Leadership and Diversity through literature" we discussed the works of three well renowned philosophers - Confucius, Machiavelli and Jean Jacques Rousseau. The class is all about reading popular stories and ideas that influenced many and drawing leadership lessons from the same. Its about examining the question "How as character would you act differently now that you have read this story" in the words of the popular faculty Dr. Alec Horniman who runs the class. 

Philosophical works and ideas have always influenced me but today I was intrigued with Rousseau and his relevance to the socio-political thought prevalent in the world today. I find it unfortunate that though I had some knowledge of his work, I never read them before. In the passages we read, Rousseau makes a distinction between Natural liberty and Civil liberty. Man wants to be free, wants to act on his own and this "unlimited right to everything" is his natural liberty. However he benefits by his interactions with the society and wilfully gives up a part of his natural liberty for civil liberty. Natural liberty according to him is bounded only by strength on an individual while Civil liberty is limited by the general will i.e. majority vote or opinion in an democracy. He comes to this conclusion through systematic analysis of nature of Human behavior as well as interactions in society. 

There is lot of debate on whether the current trends socio-political approach will indeed limit the freedom and liberty of individuals.  I believe that Rousseau's philosophy can aid us in examining if a political and social structure best meets the needs of the diverse wishes of the citizens. I often hear that following a structure of a more socialist or rather left leaning state will encroach on liberty of individuals. However, if one considers the view that taking care of the basic needs for many would probably provide them opportunity to pursue much more than they are able to now. Question is that will the meritous and ambitious lose out? Maybe they do gain from a more peaceful co-existence. Is a more equitable and peaceful society less desirable?

In class, our discussion focused more on why these ideas have survived the test of time and why they were so popular. I concluded that they addressed a fundamental problem of the society at the time in a way no one other did, they got some acceptance and shaped thoughts going forward. I think that we are at a point where a fundamental problem regarding social organisation has been raised again. We have faced this time an again in the past, and I believe this will be a constant recurrence in the future. What is the answer this time around and who is going to provide it?

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Post Graduation plans

Can't beleive that I am graduating in almost a month. As I indulge myself in social and recreational activities going on almost every day this last quarter I am also enthusiastically planning my travel plans post graduation. I plan to backpack Europe for about 2 months in June and July. Here is what the plans are looking like



I plan to travel by rail so this is the image I have in my mind. 

Not sure if I am more excited about graduation or my upcoming Europe trip. 

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

These are few of my favorite SY classes

First Years are about to bid for their SY courses and they must be wondering which ones to consider. Also, admitted or prospective students would might like to know more about the Darden curriculum. So I thought I would write about some of favor tie Second Year classes. Just so you are aware, at Darden, the entire SY is elective and you are required to take 30 credits i.e. about 20 courses. There are some restrictions so that students try to get a General management perspective and don't just take entirely finance etc based classes. Other restrictions relate to choice on credits from alternate programs such as research, business projects and case writings.

Here are my favorite classes

Thoroughly enjoyed and found very useful
Management Decision Models: The most difficult class at Darden. Its also known as the supercharged DA. It has some interesting concepts, cases and analytics that you can use both at work and in your life decisions. 
Small Enterprise Finance: Finance course about managing issue of a small business taken by a very witty professor. Very cool to do back of the hand calculations to figure out issues and remedies
Entrepreneurial Finance & Private Equity: Very well designed class on private equity and venture capital valuation and investment strategies. The cases are very interesting and speakers add great value. 
Global Business Experience - Barcelona "Strategy as design": The only GBE I participated in but honestly loved it. Barcelona is an amazing place to visit from every dimension i.e. cultural experience, visual beauty, architecture and night life. You see most of the architectural sights on class time. The course provides a very different view of looking at strategy. This GBE is both enjoyable and educative.
Operations Strategy: Though the topic may sound boring this course is not. In fact is a very strategy view at operations with very interesting cases. The professor is ex consulting firm partner and is great at makes this practical and tangible

Interesting and useful
Managing International Trade & Investments: A very well designed course that teaches important concepts related to trade and trade policies. Its a great way to understand the issues that are currently making headlines and very useful if you are working for multinational or will be involved in international business.
Leadership & Diversity through Literature: Learning about leadership through stories and epics. Makes for very interesting and insightful class discussions.
Bargaining and Negotiating: A different experience where you spend every class negotiating the deal. Great to get hands on experience and put some theories to test.
Managing Turnarounds and Workouts: This all about rescuing companies in distress and I would think very well in the current context. Its a a great course for managing smaller companies or entrepreneur as it gives good insights into what you need to do to run a business.

Pretty Good
Advanced Managerial  Communication
Valuation in Financial markets
Marketing Intelligence
General Management & Ops Consulting

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Sweet melancholy and desperate happiness

We breathe deeper and our pulse recedes
Our body lightens to see the possibilities
Are we consciously dreaming or are we sub consciously reasoning?
If the melancholy seems so sweet why do people avoid it so much?
We see the relativity of time
It moves but that doesn’t matter
For us everything’s still and drifts forever
There is satisfaction in the sadness and pain in the joy!
 
Drifting consciously, not realizing what we see and what we don’t
Reality seems more like a dream
If dreaming reality is what’s demanded of us
Is it really dreaming or is our reality invading our subconscious
If receding from that should be, is not recommended
Can we see the spiral into which our life’s descended?
Will we not indulge in the desperate happiness everyone’s in?
 
The normal rules don’t apply
When I stretch the boundaries to wonder why
As I indulge myself in floating my mind
Music of Pink Floyd begins to unwind
As my body feels a slow, slow shiver
I consider not making an endeavor
For the desperate happiness everyone desires
And catch a fleeting glimpse of a dream that still exists
The dream is to drift, drift endlessly
Like a coffin in the ocean and not a log in the river
Stay afloat please, the hunger’s still unsatisfied
 
- Anand 

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Chasing the tail?

This post is in response to post on the UVA blog referring to the NY times article Is it time to retrain B-schools?

The article starts out by pointing at some leaders that have not come out in the best light in the current crisis and highlighting that they had MBA degrees. What's not pointed out is that these are executives who probably got their business degree several years, maybe a couple of decades back. I would assume its not just the B-school experience that has shaped their recent decision making. Another point to keep in mind is that till about recently most business schools were teaching the Milton Friedman's version of business i.e. business exists to maximise shareholder value i.e. maximise profits. While this perspective was popular in the 70s and 80s, chinks began to emerge since and new theories have been developed. I can say that at least at Darden, while we are taught about Milton Friedman's theories, the more prevailing thought is 'Managing for Stakeholders' not just maximising profit. 

On the other hand what is the guarantee that what we are being taught would be relevant several years from now when we have executive decision making responsibilities. Most likely several things will change. Fundamentals of business are more likely to remain the same though. Again I really value the case based education provided by Darden that drive homes the basics and asks us to think and examine the data, evidence and theories that we use to make our decisions. There is a strong emphasis on ethical decision making. Since the emphasis is on process, one step of which is what framework best fits the problems, we are less likely to hold on to a particular theory and more likely to examine the context in which the decision needs to be made. Hopefully this would help us make better decisions. 

Its interesting to see that though many schools across the spectrum were mentioned, Darden was not. While I cannot speak for other business schools I can highlight, and have above, on the things Darden stands for. Darden in my view would stand out amongst that group as school that values and teaches responsible and ethical decision making from General managers perspective over specialisation that some of the other schools do. There will always be a place for niche schools that specialise in certain areas that have a spurt in growth i.e. the finance and marketing schools. The  consistent ones will need to have a more general management perspective. The problems in the real world are not isolated by function. Though you may be aligned to a function you have to understand multi-dimensional nature of the problem before you take decisions. 

The recession is being studied and examined thoroughly in every business school. It makes for interesting discussion. On one end there are new elective courses such as "Hot topics in Finance" and at the other end all courses give emphasis to understanding the latest events. In addition there are many events such as speaker series and forums that expand and explain the concepts and lessons. While all these are good and must, one must not forget the overarching lessons for B-school. What are b-schools and MBA degrees for?

Hence, I was most intrigued by the section of the article that seemed to suggest that B-schools should alter the way they teach as a result of the current crisis. If this means that B-schools who were teaching theory-x and and placed many graduates in Finance industry should no start theories-y and z, then I disagree. This is akin to chasing the tail. I disagree not because change is not required. Change is most definitely required. However, B-schools must always teach ethical decision making. They should also teach the current theories, tools and techniques for decision making and what the  pros-cons and risks of those tools are. They should teach about risk-reward and the consequences associated with it. And they should teach about responsibility of a manager and a leader. The content in terms of theories will always change and evolve in the light of new evidence and research. If, however, author is suggesting that b-schools should alter themselves so that they produce responsible managers and leaders rather than a graduate with technical know-how, big ego and fat paycheck, I completely agree.  As a Second year student at Darden about to graduate I can confidently say that I am learning to be a responsible leader. 

Monday, March 16, 2009

Home Strech

I can't beleive that its the last quarter already. Tommorow I start the final quarter of my 2 year MBA program. Its incredible how quickly time has passed by. Someone told me once that a good test of whether you are having fun is how quickly things passes you by. This method would indicate that I'm having the time of my life. 

Its been a great experience and I have done many more things that expected. Firstly, the inclass experience at Darden is great. By now we have almost done around 450-500 cases and I am still excited about the last quarter courses. I never dozed off in any of the classes which is not what I can say for my undergraduate years. Catching 40 winks in class is what I did back in the days. Outside the classroom, the darden community has been great. I have made some incredible friends and enjoyed all the groups activities, events and fun stuff I got to do with them. Charlottesville is not the most happening place but I did enjoy going out as well. I did my fare share of that! Last year I got to travel 3 continents. I went to Europe on 1-week program, then traveled again later on a backpacking trip for 2 weeks. I spent a couple of months in Australia for my internship and end of the year I visited home on vacation.

As I head into the last quarter, I fluctuate between elation and gloominess.  I am looking forward to graduating and moving on do some exiciting things, and the pay check of course. However, that won't be till November. Mostly though I am looking forward to the 3-month backpacking trip I plan to take soon after graduating. At the same time I know we'll all be moving away and I'll miss the close relationships I developed here. I, for one, am going to move pretty far away to Australia and am unsure how and when I'll connect with others again. That's life though, for many the meaning is in the flow.

For now I look forward to making the best of the last quarter and having a great time with my classmates. 

Friday, March 13, 2009

Philadelphia

I visited Philadelphia over the weekend and I was pleasantly surprised by this cultural and historical city.  Its also one of the few US cities one can explore by walking around.  It seemed very culturally diverse with plenty of things to do as a tourist and a resident. Here are some pictures from my trip.

View of the independence hall where the declaration of Independence and US constitution were signed. 

Looking back at downtown from the park


View of the museum from the park. 

Elfreths avenue - some of the oldest houses in Philadelphia. Where the original settler stayed.

Found an interesting mural as I was walking in the streets


View from Downtown looking towards the Philadelphia Museum of Arts. The street is lined with flags from every country. Its the only city I know that has such a things.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

A new war is emerging

Looks like a new war is brewing up and this time its not between religious groups but between Atheist and the religious. Most religions have been spending a lot of money of late on new media and have setup YouTube videos and channels. However, in the the past 3-4 years there Atheists have started their own campaign. To me its not clear as to what created this new Atheist counter campaign. Obviously personal initiatives of Christopher Hitchens (Author of best seller - God is not Great), Richard Dawkins (Author of best seller - The God Delusion) and Sam Harris (Author of End of faith and Letter to the Christian Nation). The fact that these books have sold as many copies(God Delusion - 1.5 M, #2 on amazon bestseller in 2006, God is not great reached #2 on amazon bestseller in 2007)  as they did is surprising to me as Atheist account for 3% of world population with other non-believers accounting for about 10-12%. 

Added later: Dawkins Interview

There have been atleast 2-3 books countering each one of these books but have not been as popular as the originals. However, many say that the fact that these books are selling does not indicate or prove anything. Atheist counter that if people are examining their beliefs and not taking them on faith is exactly what they want to see happen.

Several campaigns such as the Atheist Bus campaign, which was launched in response to the Christian organisation Jesussaid.org bus advert (which said all non-Christians will burn in hell for eternity) have taken off. It was originally launched to raise GBP 5,500 to run on 30 buses in London but has now raised GBP 140,000 and running on 800 buses. Similar campaigns have started in Spain, Italy, Canada, US in a total of 17 cities. There have been counter responses from Christian organisations in most of these locations. However, when it comes to financial resources the Atheist campaign is no match for the billions of dollars that the religious institutions command. 

I was going to touch on YouTube campaigns next and looking back the last sentence from previous para it doesn't surprise me that battle has moved to the Internet. being the great leveler that it is. What's interesting is that on YouTube the battle's not amongst institutions but individuals who have setup channels campaigning their cause. Again, Atheist channels and blogs are fairly new, last 2-3 years, as compared to religious ones. I assume these are probably inspired by the three authors I mentioned above.

What the result will be no one knows but looking at the trends I feel that the next 20-30 years of public debate is less and less going to be between religions and more between the believers and non-believers. The next generation, i mean the teens who were born in the 90s or others in early 2000s, are going to grow up in the midst of this debate. This will be a fairly new concept as in the past people were brought up with a certain view. We all know that once we are grown up its next to impossible for anyone to change their mind on core beliefs. So it would be interesting to see what the next generation ends up believing. 

To sign off I found some YouTube videos from channels with purpose to promote their view point. The war rages on.










Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Rampant consumerism needs a cutback

Couple of posts earlier I wrote about how increasing leverage and spending was risky. 


At least someone agrees with me. The savings rate in the US is on the increase from -6% to 3.4%. 



Its interesting to note that most economists and government still think that increasing spending is the answer. What matters is how the increase spending is used. As an individual if you are under financial stress you curtail your expenditure and save a little to get out of strife. So why is it so different for the country as a whole. Well if you can borrow some money and invest in improvement in productivity etc that gives you a higher return than what you borrowed at, well then you are creating value. However, if you  borrow to spend, that's digging a deeper hole. I guess what matters more is not whether you have big bailouts but how you use the money to get higher returns than what you borrowed it for.

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