Archive for career

Warren buffet advice to a young invester

“If you’re interested in financial matters, getting a stake early is very useful and getting knowlege early is useful…. Just try to keep accumulating knowledge. That’s one of the beauties of the business that Charlie and I are in – everything is cumulative. The stuff I learned at 20 is useful today – not necessarily in the same way and not necessarily every day, but it’s useful. So you’re building a database in your mind that’s going to pay off over time.”

Source: 2001 Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting report.

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Dilemma of a Indian Software Engineer

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I am having 4 years of experience working in a software MNC, had onsite oppurtunity, earning a decent salary and had good learning in initial years of working but now i have started realising that i am not moving anwhere, there is nothing much left to learn as part of product i work upon, my work more or less resembles with the fresher that join the organisation, or its about helping/ mentoring them, I will be gradually moving to project management but there also i dont see much learning , i hardly see my manager working they are just responsible for some project schedule maintainence , people management and so.

Most of the projects don’t require much technical competence, they are mostly legacy products that continue to evolve by copying code from here/there , Job which most of the people do can be done by traning any plain graduate and that is why software companies had people from all sort of colleges doing the same type of work.

There is hardly any recognition of talent because in reality nobody needs it here . All you need is a good luck to be in right project that can fetch you a onsite for a year or two and promotions. I know i am sounding very frustrated but believe me this is the truth and story of various of my friends.

Extracted from Rashmi Bansal’s awesome blog.

My response to query (as in comment on her blog).

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Rashmi , I wish guy/gal who raised ‘Whats wrong with being mediocre and happy’ question  few weeks back is reading this post. I am sure he will find few answers in this interesting query.

I am in similar situation from quite a while. I considered many options as suggested by readers of  your blog . After years of thinking  I am still a software engineer.

The Dilemma of SW engineer is whether he should take a low-on-everything ( excitement, motivation, creativity,risk) but high on social quotient (respect + money + status + rewards + lifestyle) or adre himself to take  road less travelled.

Nobody outside industry understand that SWITCH companies are sweatshops, serving bottom of the pyramid in software industry using most abundant & cheap resource available in india : underskilled unemployed young graduates. I am not complaining. If there is some one to blamed its’s our education system and ministry of HRD. Business is about making most of what you have. In a nation with 26 % population living BPL giving a decent standard of life to lakh of janata is commendable job by all measures. And I think nobody had any issue untill last few years.

So what exactly happend in last few years that triggered this ‘ Mujhe change chahiye’ (I  want change) phenomenon ?

A lot. We had two technology boom and busts. Then reality boom. Stock market boom and  bust. With indian economy clocking at 7%  plus rate from past many years we have witnessed rise of many other sectors. There is follow of overseas money in indian market and standard of life in india has improved for many. We have seen rise of indian middle class.

Whats this change ushed for a software engineer ?

Decline in social quotient. Earlier they had class of their own much higher in hierarchy. Now slowly but surely loosing that status. SW industry is maturing and with that benefits enjoyed by sw engineers.For a software engineer  this dilemma is not just about quality of work (creativity, motivation, risk- reward equation)  but its a sort of identity crisis. He want his status back. At higher level  this crisis is a harbinger of  bigger change in society . In coming years a critical mass whose  roti-kapada-makan needs got satisfied will start  seeking for more.  They will demand even better stanadard of life. This will not only create new challenge for individuals but to society and government too. To sustain  high standard of life and make class out of middle class require much more the what SWITCH companies can provide. To meet  this need we need a revolution more powerful then agriculture revolution, white revolution and another YK2  opportunity  put together. 

Talking about MBA and startups.I think both measures  are faddish. I meet many MBAs facing same issues as discussed. Startups need different kind of people. We know most of us do not have right startup DNA and startup environment is very unforgiving . Starup expect a lot. Talent, risk appetite, belief in delayed gratification, I-do-not-give-a-damn-what-society think attitude and lot more. Having  some tags like  MBA/IIT/IIM /ISB can  only make life little easier but will not gurrentee anything.

Do I have any  suggestions?

No. I have none. General  advice serve no purpose. Everybody want different thing from life.You have to decide what you want. Make sure you do not do not compare your inside with somebody’s outside.

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Morten Lund on Entrepreneurship

Lund has founded or co-invested in more than 40 high-tech start ups in the last decade, most famously Skype, the VoIP star snapped up by eBay for $2.6 billion in 2005.

Qoutable qoutes:

“I started with nothing as a student ….I probably had more fun  than I had last year when I was thinking about buying a private jet.”

“An entrepreneur is someone who is more willing to fail at something that matters than to succeed at something that doesn’t”

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Best investment that you can make: Warren Buffet

The most important investment you can make is in yourself. Very few people get anything like their potential horsepower translated into the actual horsepower of their output in life. Potential exceeds realisation for many people…… Just imagine you’re 16 and I was going to give you a car of your choice today, any car you wanted to pick. But there was one catch. It was the only car you were able to have for the rest of your life. You had to make it last. So how would you treat it?

Well, of course you’d read the owners’ manual about five times before you turn the key in the ignition. You would keep it garaged; any little rust would get taken care of immediately; you’d change the oil twice as often as you were supposed to – because you would know it had to last a lifetime….

Then I tell the students you get one body and one mind. And it’s going to have to last you a lifetime so you’d better treat it the same way. You’d better start doing it right now because it doesn’t do any good if you start working on it when you are 50 or 60 and the little speck of rust has turned into something big… The best asset is your own self. You can become to an enormous degree the person you want to be.”

Source : During the question and answer session at the AGM of his Berkshire Hathaway

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Bjarne Stroustrup’s advice for advice for young programmers — or for not-so-young programmers?

Programming is part of software development. It doesn’t matter how fancy your code is unless it solves the right problem and you can explain it to others. So, brush up on your communication skills. Learn to listen, to ask good questions, to write clearly, and to present clearly. Serious programming is a team sport, brush up on your social skills. The sloppy fat geek computer genius semi-buried in a pile of pizza boxes and cola cans is a mythical creature, best buried deep, never to be seen again.

Learn your first language well. That means trying it for difficult tasks. Don’t obsess about technical details. Focus on techniques and principles.

Learn another programming language; choose any language that’s quite different from what you are best acquainted with. You can’t be a professional in the IT world knowing only one language. No one language is the best for everyone and for everything.

Don’t just do programming. Computing is always computing something. Become acquainted with something that requires your software development skills: Mediaeval history, car engine design, rocket science, medical blood analysis, image processing, computational geometry, biological modeling, whatever seems interesting. Yes, all of these examples are real, from my personal experience.

Source: Bjarne Stroustrup on Educating Software Developers

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IIM Bangalore selection procedure 101

IIM bangalore has released a document that outline how exactly it distill candidates for its two year MBA program.

In case you not intersted to decode this for now you can  read exellent analysis of same here. 

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JOB culture in India

I find an interesting comment while reading this post on Texas start-up blog.This comment not only reflect poor “job ” oriented attitude of Indina graduates but also tells us how it affects entrepreneurial ecosystem of India.

Comment goes like this:


” I started a small outsourced projects development business in early 2005 but it got burst after 9 months of operation because it’s really hard to find developers who code in open source .. if you make a visit to Tata, Infosys, Wipro and others you’ll find that these giants work on Microsoft, IBM based product lines .. not open source products. Most of the developers working in these companies don’t even know what PHP is .. RubyonRails (such a hype) but if you catch someone from infosys and ask them what it is .. ummm .. “No idea”.

The basic job culture in India is just to get a job after graduation and work for some big company. Entrepreneurship doesn’t exist in IT here (I don’t deny that only people who can’t get a damn good job in IT giants OR are totally focused on their own ideas and stuff .. they start their own small business). My parents have been always bullying me to get a job .. I am 27+ and successfully provide independent consulting (one man show and earning good living) but still in my parents eyes I am not settled because I don’t work for some big IT giant.

Even if you see Silicon Valley in CA you’ll see thousands of technopreneur there (small to big) .. in India you see only big .. and these big ones have their backbone in Silicon Valley, CA. Only giants such as Infosys, Tata, Wipro others have their own standing.

Anyways, let’s come back to topic .. a lot of businesses fail in India because of

1. Power cuts (don’t even know how long electricity will be off for)

2. Lack of good locations to setup a business (the one that exist are either too expensive to rent a space OR rent a space in local market which is always noisy and doesn’t even give a feel that you work something different than the local grocers).

3. Lack of people resources (small company can’t afford to pay like giants .. thus parents don’t allow their kids to work for smaller companies).

4. There is a stupid mentality that smaller companies working on open source products are just bunch of idiots trying to run them. Even today morning I had a talk with my dad .. and he was just pushing on one point that smaller companies never tend to exist in the market.

Well I already discussed location issue in my previous posts.What I find most worrying is the “job attitude” of Indian graduates.Its not very difficult to understand why they make such decisions..Curriculum are outdated and discourage creativity and initiative leading to a system dependent graduate, college and faculty hardly provide career counselling and are more focus on improving ” placement record” of college, risk averse parents put pressure to take a job in MNC no matter what is the quality of that job is,peers joining MNC create an very unmotivating environment for a graduate to join start-up.

But I guess they miss the bigger picture.They forget that we are living in different times compare to our parents and siblings.With world getting smaller and smaller everyday, India growing at 9 % growth rate,and reforms and opening of other sector give unique and unparalleled opportunity for this generation graduates.This is time to focus on careers rather then looking for jobs.

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