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Friday, September 9, 2011

My participation in "Hacking education Contest"

Recently took part in the Hacking education contest conducted by DonorsChoose.org and made it to their showcase.   Really encouraging and hopefully it'll give me the push to do better in any future contests.  Got a $100 gift card to donate it to it to the school projects.

My app name is : projectsnear.me - which will help donors to explore the projects easily to donate and share the information.

Projects Near me

Showcase at DonorsChoose.org website:  Showcase


Reading "Life- Is What You Make It" - By PETER BUFFETT

Currently, I'm reading "Life- Is What You Make It". Interesting book written by a person who was born in one of the richest families on earth- Warren Buffett.

Important points to be noted from this book:

  • Normal is what you're used to

    Core values are the foundation for everything : Trust, Tolerance, Education, Personal Work Ethic.

  • No one deserves anything

    Author tries to bring out the real meaning of "deserves". In simple words, he tries to prove that people born in affluent families are in one way are losers. In a sense that there's a good chance that they lose the opportunity to earn the real reward of their life by working hard and making most of their life.

  • The myth of the level playing field

    Gist: World is imperfect. Everyone wishes it to be a level playing field, but it's not. It's the passionate individuals who wants to succeed need to do all it takes to bring it closer and closer to a level playing field. Also, it's important to identify that all human beings are equal. We should only do things which we're passionate about. Should not surrender to something just because it's advantageous career or financial wise.

  • The ( mixed ) blessing of choice reading.......

Friday, May 20, 2011

Listening to - " The Steve Jobs Way" - By Jay Elliot - Former Senior Vice President of Apple

I'm currently listening to the -" The Steve Jobs Way". It's really inspiring, interesting and lot of things to learn from it. The following are some interesting points I picked up from what I've listened to so far.

1. Steve is the -"Head artist of the apple".

2. Apple teams are termed as pirates.

3. Steve pushes the people to extremes to work hard and improve the performance.

4. He's the person of details. Ex: Though not from technical background, he used to understand every other detail of the mac design from semi-conductor chip to the casing.

5. Steve is the role model of everybody at the apple.

6. Steve envisions the products he designs and develops from end user or customer's perspective.

7. He goes to any extent to appreciate the work of his employees. Ex: Personally emailing apple retail store associate to appreciate him on his performance in handling the customer request, personally handing out hundred bills as token of appreciation to the workers on factory-floor, or personally giving bonus check to one of his engineers at his desk.

8. Steve is always energized and enthusiastic. Always in hyper mode to present products to people with a splash in his presentations.

9. He instilled design thinking into building the apple products. Thinking and designing them in a artistic way rather than creating computers as squared plastic or metal boxes and including software with better and intuitive User-interface. Things at apple got the current shape based on the Steve's creative customer-oriented thinking.

Oh! boy, lot to learn from him.
Some brain-storming videos of Steve Jobs at NEXT

From "Good to Great - By Jim Collins"

On my recent flight to India, I started re-listening (b'cos actually started this book long time back. But, didn't had time to make notes.) to "Good to Great-By Jim Collins" and made some short notes.
I found some interesting points to be noted, if I ever want to run a company or start a business.

1. Nepotism doesn't work if you want to build a great and successful company.

2. If you want to build a successful company you need to have guts to cut-off your own arm when it's effected by cancer. In the sense, guts to take unpopular decisions which are good for the company.

Ex: Walgreens sold their restaurant business, Kimberly-Clark's Darwin smith sold paper mills which are used to be their core businesses.

3. Luck also plays a wide role in building a great company.

4. Good is enemy of great.

5. You need to have guts to put yourself in the front-row to face any problem.

6. Qualities of top-most level-5 leaders:


  • Never boast about success.

  • Take full responsibility.

  • Charismatic.

  • Fanatically driven.

  • They'll have guts to take hard and unpopular decisions.

  • For them, company is the first priority

  • Never settle for less than great results.



7. what takes it to build great company:

  • Strong discipline and culture.

  • "First who and then what". Either on the bus or off the bus.

  • Sell off the problems but don't sell people.

  • Great vision without people is irrelevant.

  • Right people doesn't have to be motivate or managed.



Strong points to understand and remember. As per a punch line in the book, "If used right, technology can be accelerator of momentum in business, but not the creator of the momentum". Not sure if this still relevant to latest technology only companies like Facebook, Twitter, etc.

There are some key things worth noting from this :

1. Understanding the Hedge-hog concept which revolves around three circles : a. what you're deeply passionate about ? b. what you can be best in the world at ? what you cannot be best in the world at ? 3. what drives your economic engine ?

2. Building a good-to-great company or becoming good-to-great will be a cumulative process.  Cannot be a overnight success.





Sunday, January 30, 2011

After listening to -" A Whole New Mind- By Daniel Pink"

Again, I just started recently listening to this book " A Whole New Mind- by Daniel Pink". I started using audible.com's iPhone app to listen to audio books to keep up with my schedule. So far I really liked the iPhone app and it's seamless integration with audible.com.

Coming to the book, I really liked it. It gives some good information about two different sides of the human brain. It explains, what kind of thinking is important to succeed in this new competitive era. Author presents qualities and importance of left and right hemispheres of the brain. He calls it L-directed and R-directed thinking.

Bottom line to understand from this book :

  1. Left-directed thinking helps in calculations, and logical thinking. ( Useful for : Programming, accounting jobs, etc,)

  2. Right-directed thinking helps in compassion, caring, emotions, etc., ( Useful for high concept and high touch jobs like Artists, designers, creative thinkers, entrepreneurs, etc,)

  3. For new kind of jobs, L-directed thinking needs to be complemented by R-directed thinking.



Points to be noted:
This book emphasizes following 6 qualities (referred to as senses by author) required to be successful for the next-gen of professionals. It seems the following are qualities of R-hemisphere (R-directed thinking) of the brain. :

  1. Design thinking

  2. story telling

  3. Symphony and synthesis

  4. Empathy

  5. Playing games, sense of humor, and fun

  6. Doing meaningful work and spirituality



After listening about the design thinking in this book, I really got inspired about the art and design. I thought the following points mentioned by author are worth to be noted :


  1. Embedding design thinking into student's curriculum.
  2. "MFA is new MBA."
  3. "L-directed thinking which helps in number-crunching, programming, etc is necessary but not sufficient."
  4. Author mentions about the changes being taken place to support this kind of design thinking. Like embedding art and design thinking and courses into medical student's curriculum, companies, and government agencies.
  5. He says, new kind of jobs require - " High touch and high concept skills" which fall into the above mentioned 6 senses.
  6. "L-directed thinking needs to be complemented with R-directed thinking".
  7. "Design is a classic whole minded aptitude".
  8. He mentions about - how each and every thing in this world we use is imagined, designed, and created and emphasizes the importance of art and design in our daily life. Without art and design we will not be able to see the user friendly and aesthetic qualities of the things we see around us. Personally, I feel aesthetic qualities will improve the productivity of our work.
  9. "Good design can change the world."
  10. Bad design can lead to bad results.
  11. These are my favorite examples about design:
    • Patients treated in well designed hospital wards required less medications to recover and feel good compared to others.

    • Students studied in improved and well-designed school ambience improved their scores.

  12. To be designer neeed to be an agent of change.
  13. He suggests the following things to improve the design thinking:
    • Keep a design notebook

    • Carry a design notebook

    • Make a note when you see good design

    • Experience design

    • Carry a camera and take pictures of good and bad design

    • Choose a design that bothers. Think about improvements. Read design magazines


  14. Websites mentioned in this book:


  15. Become a design detective: how does it effect the 5-senses by looking at an object ? Why this object tickles the sensation and why not other ?





Still there are many things to note down about this book...........................