Thursday, October 13, 2005

Bloggers vs IIPM: Two Concerns

There are two troubling aspects about "the IIPM" vs."the Bloggers" episode.

I had written about the first one in my last post on Alternative Perspective yesterday, which was about preserving the sanctity of the grassroot democracy and freedom of speech of the blogosphere.

But the other is an equally important aspect - about the response from the blogger community:

Needless to say, this episode has brought many bloggers together. They are writing - expressing their concern, outrage, dismay, solidarity, anger - and geting connected. DesiPundit and SambharMafia have done a remarkable job of tracing the blogs, postings and news about the issue and compiling them at one place.

So why is that a troubling thing?

for two reasons:

I had once made a posting about the Primitive Processes on Internet. Given the nature of the medium, it is so very easy to get carried away by it. I mean, when the only 'human' interface is with a terminal, it is quite easy to slip into solipsism, and fall prey to one's own fantasy and impressions (even if they maybe, by and large, correct). This is more likely to happen in interactive forums - mailing lists, online group, and across connected blogs - since each posting only reconfirms what one believes in.

So if the concern is about finding the "real" facts about IIPM (and if they are different than what is given in their advts), there is actually no attempt (or at least, no report of such an effort) in that direction. It would be far more "real" thing to do (if one is staying in a city with IIPM campus), to actually go and talk to the students or faculty there, have a look at their infrastructure, get in touch with any of their alumni (a partial list is available at: to find out if their education was worth it or not.... and share that on one's blog.

After all, one can't form an opinion about the worth of an institute and its education, based on just its hyper-ads, the behaviour of a few who may have vandalised Rashmi Bansal's blog, or had created those ridiculous "IIPM blogs" overnight... any institute, one will find a few immature people of this kind.

When an issue of personal concern gets framed as a fight against someone (not against something), then one becomes vulnerable to casting oneself in the image of one's "adversary" (in this case, in the image of what one perceives as "wrong" with IIPM).

Two examples of why I find this as a real and possible danger in this unfolding of events:

- I read some suggestion in a blog about why not to "googlebomb" IIPM, (which actually will be an act very similar to those very objectionable comments in Rashmi's blog).

- I found this through a posting on Dilip D'Souza's blog: the use of Wikepedia to highlight the controversy.

While there is an apparently sincere attempt to keep this in-construction IIPM Wikepediia page objective and neutral - but the fact remains that the motive for constucting this page is a controversy, where the builders of the page have "stand"

...Somewhere, The Virtual needs to visit The Real - both either to verify or to disconfirm it, and to remain grounded in reality.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Manual for Climbing Mountains

From Paulo Coelho's this week's Warrior of the Light Newsletter

A] Choose the mountain you want to climb: don’t pay attention to what other people say, such as “that one’s more beautiful” or “this one’s easier”. You’ll be spending lots of energy and enthusiasm to reach your objective, so you’re the only one responsible and you should be sure of what you’re doing.

B] Know how to get close to it: mountains are often seen from far off – beautiful, interesting, full of challenges. But what happens when we try to draw closer? Roads run all around them, flowers grow between you and your objective, what seemed so clear on the map is tough in real life. So try all the paths and all the tracks until eventually one day you’re standing in front of the top that you yearn to reach.

C] Learn from someone who has already been up there: no matter how unique you feel, there is always someone who has had the same dream before you and ended up leaving marks that can make your journey easier; places to hang the rope, trails, broken branches to make the walking easier. The climb is yours, so is the responsibility, but don’t forget that the experience of others can help a lot.

D] When seen up close, dangers are controllable: when you begin to climb the mountain of your dreams, pay attention to the surroundings. There are cliffs, of course. There are almost imperceptible cracks in the mountain rock. There are stones so polished by storms that they have become as slippery as ice. But if you know where you are placing each footstep, you will notice the traps and how to get around them.

E] The landscape changes, so enjoy it: of course, you have to have an objective in mind – to reach the top. But as you are going up, more things can be seen, and it’s no bother to stop now and again and enjoy the panorama around you. At every meter conquered, you can see a little further, so use this to discover things that you still had not noticed.

F] Respect your body: you can only climb a mountain if you give your body the attention it deserves. You have all the time that life grants you, as long as you walk without demanding what can’t be granted. If you go too fast you will grow tired and give up half way there. If you go too slow, night will fall and you will be lost. Enjoy the scenery, take delight in the cool spring water and the fruit that nature generously offers you, but keep on walking.

G] Respect your soul: don’t keep repeating “I’m going to make it”. Your soul already knows that, what it needs is to use the long journey to be able to grow, stretch along the horizon, touch the sky. An obsession does not help you at all to reach your objective, and even ends up taking the pleasure out of the climb. But pay attention: also, don’t keep saying “it’s harder than I thought”, because that will make you lose your inner strength.

H] Be prepared to climb one kilometer more: the way up to the top of the mountain is always longer than you think. Don’t fool yourself, the moment will arrive when what seemed so near is still very far. But since you were prepared to go beyond, this is not really a problem.

I] Be happy when you reach the top: cry, clap your hands, shout to the four winds that you did it, let the wind - the wind is always blowing up there - purify your mind, refresh your tired and sweaty feet, open your eyes, clean the dust from your heart. It feels so good, what was just a dream before, a distant vision, is now part of your life, you did it!

J] Make a promise: now that you have discovered a force that you were not even aware of, tell yourself that from now on you will use this force for the rest of your days. Preferably, also promise to discover another mountain, and set off on another adventure.

L] Tell your story: yes, tell your story! Give your example. Tell everyone that it’s possible, and other people will then have the courage to face their own mountains.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Why MBAs can't normally become Entrepreneurs

These are some thoughts which came to mind during some class discussions this term on how new businesses get created, how the entrepreneurial companies and individuals "create" rather than "adapt" to the environments... and in the process, often violate (and change) the way of doing business...

...and it occured to me that why the typical B-school environment does not provide any groundings for making entrepreneurs... in fact, inadvertantly, it desists people from becoming entrepreneurs... so my take is that if MBAs become entrepreneurs, it is not because of the MBA degree, but in spite of it!!


Firstly, let's look at why people want to do MBA. In many ways, the motivation for doing MBA nowadays is same as why people used to prefer a government job in yesteryears - security!... a government job provided job-security, while admission to a good B-school provides the security of getting a well-paying job.

Secondly, unlike most other professions (e.g., engineering, medicine, CA, etc.), MBA admission is the only one which does not require an aptitude - or a basic grounding of the 'discipline'. For instance, to become an engineer or a doctor, one can apply for the admissions in the professional institute, only if one has a basic grounding in certain specific subjects (whether maths, physics, or biology, etc.). The admissions tests would also try to assess the robustness of this grounding.

However, an aptitude to manage can only be judged in a real-life situation; it cannot be judged by the paper-pencil tests which are used for admission.... with the result, for all practical purposes, the MBA admissions are based on the premise that anyone can become a manager!

And lastly, the predominant B-school curriculum is focused on learning from companies - as cases or as theoretical frameworks - who have already moved up to the latter-part of the S-Curve. So people learn, for instance, about
  • how to analyse industry to craft a strategy
    (and not how to strategise when the industry itself is in formative stage),
  • how to compete in a market
    (and not how to create a market),
  • how to manage resources efficiently
    (and not how to create and acquire resources),
  • how to operate within regulatory boundaries
    (and not how to push the regulatory boundaries to evolve to accommodate new business realities), etc.

  • in fact, if a person learns all these things, he is actually at a handicap for any entrepreneurial venture!!!