Jan 27, 2008

What next in IT Services?

The blog post here by Basab in 6ampacific captures well what is going on (wrong) with the Indian IT Services industry. The stock prices of Indian IT biggies have taken a massive drubbing while the Sensex in general has been going from strength to strength in 2007. The recent market meltdown impacted IT stocks the least, partly because they were already beaten up black and blue.

With the rupee appreciation, larger volumes and the expected recession in the US the future is certainly not so rosy. What could turn around the futures of these companies? One or more of the following:
  • Some bold and aggressive acquisitions in the global market place taking their reach to new markets. Indian companies in general (not just IT ones) have a huge potential to acquire inefficient operations overseas and use their low cost models to deliver significant improvements in gross margins.
  • The rupee reaching a level of Rs 40 again on the back of a potentially deeper stock market correction, could mark a psychological threshold. With elections in India round the corner and the global recession there will be enough volatility around to make that possibe if not probable.
  • Launch of some bold IT products may still take some time, but that could kick in big time non linear revenue streams and not on mere head counts. TCS is already more than 100k heads, a humongous number and I clearly don't see them replacing the Indian Railways as the world's largest employer.

Jan 24, 2008

Nike Plus Rocks!

I have been using Nike plus for about a month now and feel compelled to write this. Nike plus is an excellent example of a social network engineered by Nike and Apple together. The gadget itself is a combination of a Nike+ sensor and an ipod nano accessory. Of course you also need a ipod nano and a Nike+ capable running shoe that has a built in socket to hold the sensor.

Once you are set up, the sheer joy of integrating your music/podcasts with running is beyond words. Each time the ipod syncs, the run data goes to the nikeplus.com website where one can track the runs, goals, challenges, resolutions, trophies, route maps etc. The route map feature is great - noticed though that Hyderabad did not have as many maps as Bangalore and went about creating a few myself. All the running related activity has been superbly organised, letting one focus on getting motivated and staying the course. I am now close to completing my target of running 40kms this month and hope to set more targets in the coming months to eventually accomplish my goal of completing a half marathon.

Joker In The Pack - Life at IIMs

One of the few books I managed to complete last month is titled "Joker in the Pack". It is a racy read and gives a pretty good glimpse about life at an IIM startign right from the graduation days to preparing for the CAT entrance exam and then cracking the interview. The story of how the protagonist then unleashes all the tricks in the trade to get ahead in the crazy rat race is well written. Of course he finally lands a plum job in a consulting firm though ends up losing out on his pre-MBA romance (only perhaps to go on to 'greener pastures'). The shamelessly opportunistic streak exhibited made me squirm at times but clearly the protagonist believes that any price is good as long as you win.

Bottom line: I will recommend the book to any MBA aspirant for the big picture view it provides for succeeding in life at an IIM.

Jan 13, 2008

Tata Launches Nano

It is finally out! The Tata Nano is almost as cute and sexy as the Ipod Nano and holds the promise to revolutionise the way automobiles will be driven in India (potentially even the world). It portends a significant socio-economic revolution in the smaller towns of India and will potentially spur the development of more roads and allied infrastructure in the remote corners of the country. While that will take quite some time, be ready for crazier traffic in the big cities and saturation in the smaller ones. Some argue this is retrograde and screws up the environment but then one could argue development in general is bad? As long as this growth in mobility for the masses is balanced by better roads and infra, things should turn out well.

My admiration for the Tata Motors and Ratan Tata runs even deeper now post this launch. This Nano has established India solidly in global arena of automobile design. The perseverance of Ratan to hold on in West Bengal is admirable in the face of the daily brinkmanship by the vested elements to shut down the Nano factory. The guy is out to do good for Bengal by letting industry take roots once again. Let us hope that 'common people' in their thousands drive out to Singur a year from now with their little Nanos to express their solidarity and gratitude.