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What is Google upto?

Monday, February 26, 2007 by Nawal Kishore Lodha

On Thursday, Google unveiled it's Apps Premier suite to challenge Microsoft. With this, they have strategically tried to enter the paid software market. Wainewright says -
Today may go down in history as the day when Google started charging for applications. Suddenly, it's once again become acceptable to charge customers for using Web-hosted software. It's as if the dot-com era never happened.
Unlike Microsoft’s products, which reside on PCs and corporate networks, Google Apps’ will be delivered as services accessible over the Internet, with Google storing the data. That will allow businesses to offload some of the cost of managing computers and productivity software.

What is on Google's mind? Where is it going?

If you think that Google has plenty of visionaries busy weaving the nitty-gritties of their future aspirations and architecting the direction, then you are wrong. They have some smart people who rely on "Not intelligent designs but Intelligent reaction". Few months back, Adam Bosworth (Google's VP Engg) explained this to the enthusiastic SalesForce team. So, they don't build things people don't ask for - thus allowing them to decide.

This focus helped Google to improve its Forbes rating this month.
The company is starting to pay more attention to its side projects, investing time and money in those with promise and discarding others.
Google's decision to move towards the "Hosted Services" model based on subscription fee adds credence to the SaaS concept. SaaS - allows companies to focus on business and not on infrastructure. Instead of having to focus on the technology - installing, maintaining, etc. - they can use hosted services that just work.

I believe Google has been underplaying it's ambitions for all these none-core projects until now. And in a few months, we might see huge strides and swings towards the enterprise space and the new model of subscription based, on-demand services.

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Colorful Bosses - When Airbus CEO dropped his pants

Friday, February 23, 2007 by Nawal Kishore Lodha

Most of the bosses have an uncanny capability to get real funny. And at times, they don't even hesitate to apply their strange antics to derive some business. One such incident about the Airbus CEO -
Jean Pierson, the colorful Frenchman who built Airbus into Boeing Co.’s biggest competitor, dropped his trousers to seal a key U.S. plane order in 1997, according to a book to be published on Tuesday.

The bizarre tactic worked, and the resulting order helped Airbus take on Boeing in its own backyard, setting up the biggest rivalry in global business, according to “Boeing versus Airbus,” by former New Yorker magazine writer John Newhouse.

Pierson, who ran Airbus from 1985 to 1998, was at US Airways’ headquarters for what he thought would be a short meeting to tie up a 400-plane deal, the anecdote runs.

At the last minute, US Airways’ then-chairman Stephen Wolf started arguing for a 5 percent discount on the selling price.

“Pierson began slowly lowering his trousers and saying ‘I have nothing more to give.’ He then allowed the trousers to fall around his ankles,” says Newhouse in his book.

Wolf replied: “Pull up your pants. I don’t need any more money,” and the deal was signed, according to the book. The author says he got the story from Pierson himself, and it was confirmed by another person present.

Shortly afterward, US Airways announced the purchase of 124 single-aisle Airbus A320 family jets with options for 276 more, a stab into the heart of Boeing’s competing 737 program. It put the European company on track to overtake Boeing in global orders only two years later.


Change the Rules

by Nawal Kishore Lodha

So many companies start believing that being the market leaders makes them infallible. Don Dodge cites plenty of instances where innovation & market leaders were taken over by rivals who imitated them.
List of innovation leaders and fast followers.
  • AltaVista -> Google
  • Napster -> iTunes
  • VisiCalc -> Lotus 123 -> Excel
  • Word Perfect -> Word
  • Netscape -> Internet Explorer
  • Apple Newton -> Palm Pilot -> Blackberry
  • IBM PC -> Compaq -> Dell
  • Double Click -> Google Ad Sense
  • Ofoto -> Flickr
  • Compuserve -> AOL -> @Home -> Comcast & Verizon

All of these companies were innovation leaders and market leaders. Yet, they were eclipsed by fast followers, in some cases multiple times, who imitated their innovation. My belief is that the technology was outstanding...the management was not.

What's the way out when you are the leader? Or, when you want to be the leader! If you can't beat 'em all by their rules of the game, CHANGE THE RULES!

Clayton Christensen (author of the famous book: The Innovator's Dilemma: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail) and others recommend Disruptive Innovations and Sustaining Innovations for changing these rules.

Classic example is this story Judo Strategy: Nintendo Wii Smacks Microsoft, Sony by Zack Urlocker.
The newest entry from Nintendo is not trying to beat competitors with better more advanced processors and the more complicated games that hardcore gamers crave. Instead Nintendo's new console is a stripped-down product that aims to widen the market by pulling in non-gamers. How? With a technically inferior product that gets the job done for regular people and occasional gamers.

Nintendo's management realized there's no way they could outspend Microsoft and Sony when it comes to advanced hardware design. So why even bother? Instead the new Nintendo Wii gaming console takes a disruptive approach: focus on fun and expand the market by appealing to non-gamers.
From my experience, I firmly believe that innovation requires orchestration from the top. The IBM Global CEO Study confirms it. History is witness to the downfall of many organizations when this did not happen. Try comparing the list of Fortune 500 companies of 1986 with the Fortune 500 list of 2006 and you will realize how the equations change over a short span of 20 years.

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Journey of a programmer

Thursday, February 22, 2007 by Nawal Kishore Lodha

Lo and behold! so, i am finally here. :)
As i near the last days of my journey as a programmer in the company where i started it, i stop for a while and try to look back.
The industry and the practices have evolved. I have seen different breeds of developers over these these 4 years who have touched my heart as well as my soul.

Characteristics of a good programmer
Navin has always been a role model for many of us. Why?
  1. He is passionate.
  2. He can think.
  3. He is persistent (unlike many of my techie friends).
  4. He has strong belief in himself.
  5. He motivates lesser mortals around him.
  6. He will be happier sitting at office at 3 am to finish off that 9.0 version of serializer. It was last night when he published version 8.0.
  7. At 5 am he will say, let's celebrate the new release over few games of volleyball. :)
  8. C++ or Java? How does it matter! Platforms and technologies only complement.
  9. Does not get bogged down by strong opposition or criticism.
  10. He tries to revolutionize the world.
Ajit has been another version of Navin.
But it's the newer generation of programmers whom I love most.

New breed of techies
  1. The best thing about them - They might be just out of college but they know what they want. It's amazing - Gone are the days when skills used to be proportional to experience. Not any more.
  2. Their awareness levels are extra-ordinarily high. Nirav, Gaurav, Ketan, Ravi, Vamsi, Sushant and others - you have blown me off my feet with your active interests and thinking. You have already contributed towards impacting the world around you or you aspire to. I am inspired! And, you are the reason I have started writing here.
  3. They have an attitude. They possess a burning desire to win the entire world.
  4. Programming is poetry to them. It should not be abused by non-optimized, junk and redundant code. Rather it should be nurtured and pampered.
  5. Reusability is the mantra. They don't sit and code immediately when a chore is assigned. They look for available solutions. If needed, design their own. Then, try to improve it - look for alternatives. And the outcome can rival the best.
  6. Belief in good practices. Test driven development is 'the' philosophy.
  7. They will put their hands on anything that's suave with their focus on few. They try out anything and everything - growing way beyond the office boundaries.
Hats off to you guyz. :)

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