Saturday, December 30, 2006

The Power of NOW

The whole essence of Zen consists in walking along the razor's edge of Now - to be so utterly, so completely present that no problem, no suffering, nothing that is not who you are in your essence, can survive in you. In the Now, in the absence of time, all your problems dissolve. Suffering needs time; it cannot survive in the Now.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

First mover disadvantage ...

Why Yahoo could not use the first-mover advantage in number of areas with Web 1.0?

Rich Skrenta, CEO of, puts it this way:

The second mouse gets the cheese while the first mouse gets trampled on.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

An ideal life - devoid of contradictions

Consider this -

You wake up in the morning suffused with an ineffable feeling of joy, a deep sense of well being. You go to work, to a job you love so much that you would pay for the privilege of doing it. You labor intently but are so focused that time flies by unnoticed. At the end of the day you are invigorated, brimming with more energy than when you started. You have a penetrating awareness of the course you are charting, a clear knowledge of your place in the scheme of the universe. Your work feeds this, is congruent with it and brings great contentment and peace.

You face obstacles, big ones and small ones, perhaps more than your fair share of them. You understand very clearly that their purpose is to test your mettle, to bring out the best in you even as the abrasive whetting stone serves to finely hone the knife. So you plow on indomitably, sure of what you want to achieve and yet unconcerned about results. At times it seems as if you are riding on the crest of a powerful tidal wave, as if the universe itself is helping you, working with you and through you. Locked doors open mysteriously. Incredibly fortuitous coincidences occur. You accomplish prodigious feats, feats you would never have imagined yourself capable of. Yet it would have been perfectly okay if you had not accomplished them. You accept accolades gracefully but are not swayed by them because you march to the beat of your own drummer.

Your personal life is intensely fulfilling. You are active in a variety of civic, charitable and political causes and successful in all of them. Your spouse is perfectly compatible with you, a true helpmate in every sense of the word. You beget progeny and your offspring bring great satisfaction. You have a sense of trusteeship towards them and intuit what Gibran articulated:
"Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of life's longing for itself. They come through you, not from you. And though they are with you, they belong not to you. You may give them your love but not your thoughts, For they have their own thoughts. You may house their bodies but not their souls, For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams. You may strive to be like them, but strive not to make them like you. For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday. You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth. The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and he bends you with his might that the arrows may go swift and far. Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness; For even as he loves the arrow that flies, so he loves the bow that is stable.

So it goes on year after year, each day more perfect than the one before. Your gratitude is so intense that at times it is like a physical ache. Your heart bursts as you thank the universe. What have you done to deserve such good fortune? And when the time comes for you to depart, you do so joyfully and in peace, achieving identification with the Cosmic Principle, that incredible merging which has been called many things by many peoples but is ultimately indescribable, far beyond the feeble capabilities of language.

Source: Creativity and Personal Mastery (Dr. Srikumar Rao)

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Wow! An exclusive hour with three CIOs

I went to the "CIO Meet" at Haas tonight. I got the privilege to ask them some questions.

The three CIOs were -

  • Marty Chuck, CIO, ElectronicArts
  • Greg Higham, VP, Information Systems &Technology, Witness Systems
  • Chris Jones, CTO, Shaklee Corporation

What an opportunity! Along with the free EA game and T-shirts I got answers to some of my questions I had about the role of a CIO.

Some interesting ideas they talked about were -

  • IT needs a structured approach to identifying and solving business problems. Applying this structure to the "startup-like (a polite way of saying chaotic)" culture could be really challenging. How do you assimilate processes but still not fight with the culture of the company that might oppose it?
  • Some of the new enterprise applications are looked upon as "shiny new objects" which might not bring a lot of business value.
  • The role of a CIO is very flexible and thus there are opportunities to define it your way and set your own priorities.
  • The IT infrastructure decisions are moving from "Build or Buy" to "Buy or rent" to "Rent or BPO". Eventually, they see moving a lot of these support processes outside the company to a Rent or BPO kind of model.
  • Being a CTO/CIO in a technology company has its pluses and minuses. When you are surrounded by tech-savvy executives it is not very hard to educate them on the "new shining objects". But, as one of the CIOs gave an example - some of the colleagues would read some articles (on their United flight) and then with half-baked knowledge try to apply that to their context.
  • One CIO used ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) to explain the nature of business users and their priorities. Their attention span is just too short. Either you give quick results or their attention would go away to something else.
  • The companies resist buying critical enterprise software from the start-ups.

Thanks Marty, Greg and Chris to be there.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Beauty of life unveiling ...

Beauty is life when life unveils her holy face. But you are life and you are the veil. Beauty is eternity gazing at itself in a mirror. But you are eternity and you are the mirror. --Kahlil Gibran

Friday, November 03, 2006

CEO's Advice

"It's better to be poor and running your own business than to be rich and work for someone else."-- Calvin Ayre, CEO of

"Perseverance. Stick with it and keep a positive attitude. Starting a company is definitely a challenging process, and you have to be able to believe in yourself and believe in the concept, day after day."-- Scott Sanders, owner and CEO of F1 Race Factory

"Flexible people never get bent out of shape."-- Joshua Estrin, president and CEO of Concepts in Success

"Find an area of confusion and figure it out."-- Amy James, CEO of sixThings

"Make other people's money work for you."-- Corey Llewellyn, CEO of Digiwaxx Media

"Always be in over your head. That way, you're always learning something and you never get bored. Floating is overrated."-- Gini Dietrich, President and CEO of Arment Dietrich PR

"Don't get angry, get smart."-- Vicki Kunkel, CEO, Leader Brand Strategists

"Find out what you're good at and learn how to leverage that to your advantage."-- Stephen Blakesley, CEO of Global Management Systems, Inc.

"Find your passion and then make a living doing it."-- Ann Higgins, CEO of Utopia Communications

"Your job as a leader is to change the people, and if you can't change the people, then CHANGE the people."-- Jeff Kaye, CEO of Kaye Bassman International

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Why the VC model works in the Silicon Valley chaos

From NetService Ventures -

Venture backed companies live to push discontinuous change into the world. This is "10X" stuff, and is how their backers make a living. Large firms face serious threats from discontinuous change. It is hard to see coming.

The culture of the large firm is optimized around managing continuous change, but can't manage discontinuous change. Actually, nothing can. It isn’t a rational outcome of a rational process. It comes out of the venture investing process. And that process is chaotic, not deterministic.
Outcomes are clear only after the fact. Wisdom resides in no one company, no one entrepreneur, no one venture firm. Wisdom emerges from the process. Like the strange attractor. Everyone has to ride with it. No one can manage it.

Adopting chaos feels strange to the large firm. But success requires it. Before adoption, the firm must see both threat and opportunity. We help there. With sufficient insight, the firm can then successfully interact with "Silicon Valley Wisdom." "Wisdom" is the emergent reality of all the strange change processes being run at great expense by the venture community. We help our clients interact with that reality.

It is being comfortable with strange that lets us bring new visions down to earth for our clients.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Kindness & Competitiveness

Another contradiction - It is just too tough to be competitive and kind - both at the same time.

From David Copperfield -

I believe in kindness.
But it's hard to be kind. We're not trained for it. Kindness is for sissies; we learn that early. "Nice guys finish last." If they even get invited to the race. Kindness is taken for weakness, rube-ishness, stupidity. No one seems to respect the kind. They respect the killer. We're taught to value competitiveness, strength, cunning, Darwin.
I work in the entertainment business, where kindness just never seems to be "in." It's not macho. It doesn't sell tickets. In the movies, the hero never kills the bad guy with kindness. But I believe Economics 101 is right. The value of a thing is determined by its scarcity. Which makes kindness spiritual gold.
I am writing these words a few weeks after my father's death. […]
For my father, being kind was natural. He had a gift for it. I have to really work at it. I love competing and winning, conquest -- not words you usually associate with kindness.
As I became successful -- famous, even -- my father wasn't jealous. He basked in it. He and my mom came with me everywhere I toured. I'd always stop and introduce him to the audience, and he'd stand and bow. Afterwards, he'd sign autographs. I knew he loved getting the attention.
Only recently did I understand that he loved giving attention as well. He loved the chance to be kind to the thousands of people who came up to him. He drew strength and vitality from that chance to be nice. The chance to learn that gift was, more than anything, his legacy to me. He showed me that kindness doesn't have to be dramatic. It can be very small. It's something that's not expected and that's offered absolutely gratis, no strings -- like an act of friendship. Now, the memories that hold the most peace for me are of kindness, of my dad offering it to strangers.
With my dad's passing, I've resolved to make life more about those moments. My dad taught me that what you do counts. For me, that has to be about being kind, despite the odds. I believe in kindness, plain and simple.
-- David Copperfield