Monday, August 30, 2010

Part V: 1 year into Kumarans

A few comments on my blog post, necessitated me to come back from my slumber. Its been 1.25 years into the school, and i am been very happy with the progress that my kiddo has done there. Fun, Discipline, Facilities - Everything has been good so far. She is excited to go to school everyday, and that tells it all!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Part IV: Ball in our court

Now, we had to decide between Kumarans, NPS Koramangala & Brigade school. So, our curious mind went on to define that we want to define a good mix of academics & co-curricular activies so that we get a well-rounded personality.

In terms of academics, we wanted more the aptitude types than the mug-your-life types. So, we devised an experiment to put out our top 10 school list based on teh above. In the absense of school information for CAT & IIT results, we narrowed down on NTSE, an exam for Class 10/Class 8 students. I have been a big fan of NTSE exam, which i think gives a good spin for the intellectual mind. Went to the DSERT, karnataka site & found the school information required & constructed a quick pivot on the school.

First pic: 2007 results (10th Std)
Second pic: 2008 results (8th Std)
P.S: Sadvidya & Marimallappa are schools in Mysore. So, we had our top 3 school list in Bangalore from the above pivot:

  • Kumarans Childrens home
  • NPS Indiranagar
  • National Hill View

A very entertaining excercise for the mind. Then, in parallel, we also wanted to get a sneak peak on sports & co-curricular activies. Fortunately, kumarans had a website which spoke about the events & winners in various school events here . Naturally, i was interested in Potpourri (my all round fav. event at KREC) & found that NPS, Indiranagar, Kumarans & National Hill view took the honours.

Then, i went to KQA and wanted to check out the best schools in Quizzing. An event i was always interested, but never got to do the hard work required. As suspected, NPS, Indiranagar & Kumarans figured out prominently in the top 3. (check here).

And i chanced upon a top 250 day school list done in Sep 2008 by Education World. In the south zone rankings, it has ranked Bishop cotton boys school as No.1 (Please use due diligence in using the report findings). And among the bangalore schools, the order is Bishops, Baldwins, NPS indirangar, Ryan & Kumarans.

Then, coming to the sports rankings, i used the KPMG 8th & 9th cadet inter school championships to come up with the rankings: Bishop Cottons, Baldwins & Vidyaniketan. Among the shortlisted schools, i could see Kumarans, Innisfree & Brigade making thier mark in specific events (you can find the links here , here & here)

So, with our own biases, here is Aadi's top 3 schools in Bangalore:

  1. Kumarans Childrens Home
  2. NPS Indirangar
  3. National Hill view, Rajarajeshwarinagar.

A school has to reinvent itself over the years, which can last itself over time. (since our wards will be there for around 10 years) . I truly believe Kumarans has wonderfully done it in the last 10 years. Kumarans was starting to get there during my school days & has wonderfully steered into a good balance of academics, sports & co-curricular activities.

Would love to hear bouquets & brickbats on the above analysis!

Nursery Interview process & selection

Around first week of November, i got a call from Kumarans to come for an interview, along with my wife & daughter. First, we were surprised that there is an interview process, and obviously started wondering the need for the same. Call it the boon or the bane of the internet, we saw even questions posted on the Internet for Nursery admissions! (Sample it hilariously here, here , & fundas here. ). We thoroughly enjoyed this, but surely a worrying trend of whats coming in the future.

We were all genuinely excited for the interview (any 'first' naturally brings about energy)! We went half an hour early and we saw around 10 couples with their wards in the school. Our daugther saw the slide there and got extremely excited and started playing around. Our turn came and we were ushered into the 'room'. There were toys neatly arranged, bicuits covered & two senior teachers sitting opposite us. They made us comfortable & asked our daugther her name & asked her to sit in a baby chair. She was observing all the things around & suddenly, from nowhere asked for 'encyclocyclopedia'. We were all smiles inside & explained proudly to the teachers what she was asking, seeing the big almirah with books.

Then, they asked her what she had her in the bag & our daugther blurted out 'sugarcane juice'. The teachers wondered whether it was the case and we said that there was nothing inside. They said we can proceed and check the site on Dec 4th. The big interview D day was over in 7 minutes! We came out and saw some of my batchmates in school, waiting for thier wards' turn. Time, just flies on a rocket these days!

Then, my wife had to travel to the US for a month, and i got a call from Brigade for an observation test for my daugther. Then, papa along with our little interview pro went over to Bridage school for the observation. We went just on time & immediately ushered to the basement for the observation. There was this room with 6 teachers sitting around a circle & waiting for the next baby :-)... The first one was a puzzle (fitting different sized pieces into the right hole and the next was about books (asking her to identify colors, animals - which my daugther loved the most). Subsequently, she was asked to do an activity (closing a tiffin box and putting it into a bag & zipping it) and then, asked to identify a picture of an apple and color it. Then, some physical activity (throwing & catching a ball) and it was now the turn of me to face the interview. Phew, we an experience! Our daugther whizzed through more easily then me!

Fast forward, and we got admission calls from Kumarans, Brigade & NPS koramangala. Now, ball in our court, we had to decide which among these would we select.

Next up: The final selection

Bangalore Nursery admission saga - Part II

We stay in Jayanagar 7th Block, and after a little bit of asking around, we decided to get admission forms in the following schools

  • Delhi Public School (South) : Brand name, location, reputation for co-curricular activities
  • Kumarans: Brand name, location, reputation for academics
  • Brigade School: Liked the ambience, Age relaxation, and we knew somebody who was studying there.
  • Innisfree: Heard a lot on the internet, low class size
  • National Public school (Koramangala): Brand
  • National Hill view: Brand, Cousin's daugther was studying there.
We then went around collecting admission forms (Oct first week onwards to November first week). We were curious on the age criteria, as our daugther would have been 2 years 11 months by Jun end 2009. As to our expectation, all the above schools had strict age criteria to be around 3 years+ by June end. (Two extreme exceptions; Brigade which had an age criteria of 2 years 6 months & InnisFree which had 3 years 2 months by Jun)

Innisfree didn't even allow us to collect the form (which got me a good feeling about the school management), & DPS didn't allow us to submit the form. Kumarans, NPS & National Hill view allowed to submit the form, but said that we had a slim chance on getting in. The admission form fees & age criteria is as follows:


Age criteria as on Jun 30

Average. Fee structure for Year 1 (incl. development fees + admission)

Admission form fees


3 years

Rs. 51000

Rs. 150


3 years

Rs. 100000+

Rs. 300


2 yrs 6 months

Rs. 115000

Rs. 600


3 years

Rs. 350

National Hill view

3 years

Rs. 60000

Rs. 500

An interesting aside on the application forms itself: Apart from the usual things like Father's / Mother's name, Date of birth; all of them had Parents' educational qualifications, designations, & Gross salary. I am very curious on the correlation between these & the final list of selected students :-). I do suspect that it would be very high.

Next Post: Interview process & Selection.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Nursery admission process in Bangalore schools
Let me do a post on nursery admission process in Bangalore.
Our daugther was growing up fast and learning faster than we could believe...We truly believe/d that she was a genius (as do all parents). We thought that she was getting bored at home & we decided to put her in a playschool (Roots at Jayangar 7th Block). She refused to adjust to playschool & we had a horrendous time hearing her wail & cry for a month. Thick skinned papa was determined not to have a weak moment & these efforts 'helped' her socialize with teachers. (not kids)

We were relieved that one of the toughest moments in parenting was over, when some of our friends (experienced parents of course) started asking about nursery plans for her. She was just one month away from her second birthday! We couldn't believe our ears & eyes & whichever sense organ we have. (i digress.. Thanks to my daughter, i know sense organs, & the fact that whatever we eat goes to the stomach, intestines & comes out ;-)).

Then, as dutiful parents, we started enquiring around the different schools for nursery admissions. (around Sep). And we were in for a shock that most of the schools planned to dole out admission forms in the next couple of months.

Watch out for the real action in my next post!
Back to blogging after a short hiatus of 4 years! Some trivial things happened in that time (wedding, baby, parenting etc... :-) & now hope to do some serious blogging!

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Reading Rich Dad Poor Dad over the last two weeks. Some useful insights, but sometimes goes overboard advertising Network Marketing.
Some insights.
a) Invest in income generating assets and not expense generating assets (ie. liabilities :-)). E.g. the first thing people do after stabilising is buying a house/car on loan. This will create an expense in your income which diminishes the cash at hand. So what he suggests is that initially, you do invest in Passive Income generating assets like Stocks, Real estate and only after this starts generating some steady income, go for things like house, car etc..
b) Own a corporation.
For a corporation, First comes income, then expenses and then Tax.
For an individual, first comes income, then taxes, and then expenses.
Phenomenonal thinking.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004
Open Source PBX on VoIP!!! Amazing!

Read Accounting fundaes again today :-)
Gross Profit - Revenues from Core operations - Direct costs (e.g. raw material cost...)
Operating Profit = Gross Profit - Operating Expenses (Salaries, Rent, Power...)
Net Profit = Operating Profit + Other Income - Depreciation - Interest - Taxes
Retained Earnings = Net Profit - Dividends.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

A good article on an entrepreneur turned professor.
As told and heard from countless entrepreneurs, first and foremost is cash flow management. Second is sales. Third experience - Generalistic.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Space Tourism might be a reality in 2 years. Branson (yes the Virgin Guy ;-)) has teamed up with Mr Rutan who is the brain behind SpaceShipOne, which in June became the first privately funded spaceship, reaching the edge of space. It was done again last week.
Richard is offering seats on his flights for £115,000 ($210,000), to include three days of training and about three minutes of weightlessness in space - Virgin Galactic.
This guy is too much !!!!

Software on Demand - Catching up these days. Pay-as-you-go pricing. All new jargons.
Three to four years back, Application Service Provider was the buzzword. I dont think there is any big difference in the concept. But probably it was much ahead of its time. It failed miserably.
Now biggies such as IBM have put thier weight behind this. The basic concept - Conversion of fixed costs to variable costs. Companies dont have to invest in high priced enterprise software at one shot, but they use pay-as-you-go pricing model. All of a sudden, the IT capital expenditure of an enterprise shifts from Fixed to Variable. Gives more chance of streamlining cash flows over the year rather than one big chunk.

Monday, October 04, 2004

Another interesting view about Bush and Kerry (source:
Risk preferences.
Bush seemingly approves of personal risk over government/organization taking risk while Kerry thinks otherwise. One example is the Social security. Bush is for privatising social security wherein people put in a small amount in an account and there is a chance for the private company to invest. Therein a part of the risk is transferred to the individual and if the economy does well, he is in very good stead and also vice-versa.
But Kerry is against privatising social security.
Kerry - Congress/Left??
Bush - BJP??? :-)
Regarding the runup to the Bush-Kerry elections on Nov 2nd.
Bush - More focus on Security, Nuclear proliferation,... (International)
Kerry - Economy, Healthcare (Domestic)
Kerry is notably against outsourcing saying that he would end tax breaks for companies which have oversees subsidiaries. (Until now, overseas subsidaries didn't pay tax until profits were reaped in the US). If this is done, then, some companies would have to pay double taxes (one at the home country and one at the subsidiary company). This would be a move to create more jobs at US rather than outside.
It is more a political play rather than an economic play.
Bush is more for free trade and hints that limiting outsourcing will have adverse impacts in the long term. In the same breathe, he argues that he will get countries to open up to give access to their markets.
But companies i think have realized that outsourcing is the nature of the day and have begun to financially realize the benefits of outsourcing.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Telcos all round the world were used to be dominated by the suppliers i.e the Network Equipment Providers. The landscape is changing now with dominant telcos (like Vodafone) demanding thier needs to be taken seriously.
One problem which will be of utmost priority would be the network management landscape. The situation is mired with interoperability, standardization and lack of uniform thinking. But now with standardization taken more seriously, forums such as TMF, 3GPP have active participation from service providers as well as Equipment manufacturers. One such example is the e-TOM (enhanced Telecom operations Map) which is defined to capture the processes in the service provider.
until now, OEM refused to integrate other OEMs. (e.g. a telco like BSNL can have a 2 vendor strategy - Ericcson and Siemens. And who will integrate both these Network Element to have a common network management strategy).
But now i think everybody realizes that you should have a multi-vendor approach. Why cant a OEM like Siemens spin off a NM company to handle the higher layers? (Let the OEM themselves handle only the Element Manager parts, but leave the rest to this spin off). This approach can have lots of advantages.
a) You are on a firm starting ground by automatically supporting home NEs.
b) Revenues are higher ( 1 Billion in EM vs 30 Billion in NM and above)
c) Multi-vendor approach is not contradictory as it was in the home company.
d) Other vendors can have a NDA if there is something propreitary.
What can be the flaws of such a model?

Monday, September 13, 2004

Blogging can be dangerous.... Somebody got fired last month for the same. Read more at

Ills of Monopoly
"Critics see Wal-Mart as an anti-union predator whose relentless price-cutting actually hurts the towns where it operates by driving out other traders and imposing such low wages that many employees have to rely on welfare to supplement their income"
- Economist in a article on Walmart

Interesting Quote from Mr. Scott (CEO of Walmart) on Disintermediation.
“Most of what I see is elimination of the middle people,” he says. His favourite example involves a lesson that Wal-Mart gave Asda: the British retailer used to sell Christmas-tree lights at the equivalent of about $21, even though they came from the same factory that produced the ones Wal-Mart sold in America for less than $6. The Asda lights were passing through a string of middlemen. “I really object to that,” says Mr Scott. Watch out, middlemen.

Too theoritical, but kind of OK.
Venture Capital in China: Strategy and Decision Making

Next big thing in Indian Outsourcing according to Gartner - "Infrastructure Management Outsourcing" - Something which i think Wipro Infotech is a leader in India. (EDS worldwide).

More and more impressed with Samsung. The way they have branched out from semiconductors to Mobile Phones/LCD monitors..... while Intel couldn't. (They manufacture GSM sets whereas the local market is CDMA :-). - Similar to Indian IT!!!)

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Why do companies offer bonus shares?

Say Wipro's stock price was quoting at 1500. Now wipro announces a bonus of 2:1 , i.e for every share, two shares will be additionally given. So logically what do you think should happen? Since at that point of time, there is no real increase in output of the company (i.e no major increase in projected earnings just because a stock is split/ technically no increase in P/E or earnings momentum), the stock should ideally come down to 1/(1+2) = 1/3rd its price. i.e. 500. So i think, Wipro was quoting 1580 at that time and it should have come to around 525 and that is roughly what it is quoting.

Then, Why does a company issue bonus shares?
a) A high denomination share is not easily tradable on the market! ppl would like to trade in lower denominations of good shares. So a stock split helps in increasing the liquidity of the share.

b) Generally, the company thinks that the valuation of the share might be better in the future and it splits the share so that it is tradable. It is a virtuous cycle - lower denomination vs price rise :-). So it is a confidence building measure in the stock by the company.

c) In the short run, the valuation might increase (more speculative than real)! but anyways, stock market is kind of speculative ;-)

d) Another reason (similar to stock buyback) could be the tax benefits. Shareholders can use the capital loss due to reduced stock price to set off the capital gains.

Thursday, December 04, 2003

"All of this has happened since the tariffs were introduced, but did any of it happen because they were introduced? Gary Clyde Hufbauer of the Institute for International Economics (IIE), a Washington think-tank, warns against the post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy"

post hoc ergo propter hoc - the logical fallacy of believing that temporal succession implies a causal relation
Amazing word
A really gut-wrenching editorial in the indian express today.( Backgrounder: Satyendra Dubey, a young NHAI engineer, wrote confidentially to the PMO about corruption in the Golden Quadrilateral project in Bihar. This IIT Kanpur graduate was murdered after his identity was leaked out by the Government despite his request to keep it confidential).

It is rather ironical or metaphorical (depending on the way u take it!) that there is a full page 'India Shining' ad today in same paper.

Monday, December 01, 2003

now a days, i am getting spammed left and right in my yahoo account. of all the things, it is about some updates from microsoft patches. looks authentic with all that microsoft logo, but comes from a id ;-).
i think it is high time that software companies must be made liable for thier faults/bugs. there is absolutely no incentive for them to write safe code!!! they would rather invest on bells and whistles than safety!!. insurance would surely be one answer for the software cos, and insurance cos would obviously charge less for the companies with more safer code. So there is an economic bias/rationale towards this whole liability argument.
But who's listening?
back after almost a month-long hiatus. was a bit busy with work of all things :-(.
got more insights on business intelligence esp in telecom over the last month. I think getting into neural nets/bayesian nets/genetic algos now is the right time. shud start working on the team fast.
bot a book on story of philosophy yday at strands. really amazed at the greeks and esp plato/aristotle. i feel Platos' theories kind of is similar to that of adi shankara/advaita. but the reasoning is amazing. simple rules to remember the greeks.
socrates - gave us the thot of enquiry/questioning.
plato - "Forms" - much like the advaita - two worlds - what we see is only our perception of our senses and there is something beyond our senses.
aristotle - dismissed the above two worlds. basically said that we are in an experiential world and all our experiences lead us to the truth. also probly the most well read man in the world at any point of time - strong logic.

Thursday, November 06, 2003

I saw the RBI governor's press conference announcing the new credit policy. I think he has a greenspanish demeanour though i shud agree that he is humorous at times. In fact, he handled the questions well with ease and putting in humor whereever necessary.
RBI has not altered any of its rates - bank rate, repo rate ... Also he has told banks to up their credit income and not rely on bond/gsec incomes.
Two things are important:
a) A halt to the softening of interest rates was kind of indicated
b) The rupee's depreciation is also probably halted because of this.
Also via this, he has also given a kind of warning to esp the public sector banks (whose earnings from interest rate cuts is more than double that of credit income!!) to stop dabbling their extra money (coming thro a variety of factors - cut in crr rate, increase in income et..) in buying govt gilts in anticipation of a reduction of interest rates. This according to me was a brilliant move (though the stock rally of the banks should have made things obvious to even lay men like me) delivered with ease.
I also think that this kind of negative sentiment (of no reduction of rates) was again brilliantly camaflouged by statements of india's growing GDP and reducing inflation. (It kind of made the market happy though they were expecting a 25 basis point cut). But going into the numbers of gdp growth makes us realise how much dependent on monsoon we are. ( The increase is solely due to the increase in agri contribution and not the services/manufacturing sector which contribute 50 and 25% respectively).

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

"hallelujah" - expression of joy (actually means praise of the lord).

Some basic fundas of eco:
"A final reason why America should welcome and not bash China is that Chinese money is helping to prop up America's economy. To prevent its currency rising, the Chinese central bank has bought huge amounts of American Treasury bonds and mortgage securities (see chart). Its willingness to provide cheap credit to the American government to finance tax cuts and, indirectly, to home buyers has thus underpinned America's recovery. If China dumped those dollars, American bond yields would rise further, halting the mortgage-finance boom that has buoyed consumer spending."
A central bank buys dollars (and puts in more supply of the domestic currency) whenever it feels that the domestic currency would appreciate (which would in turn affect exports). ( So supply of domestic currency is more than the demand and therefore price of domestic currency would come down - which means that the appreciating currency has been arrested). So this it does by open market operations - buying bonds e.g. American Treasury bonds. This means that the country would actually fund the foreign government with money to finance its expenditure. But suppose the country dumps all its dollars/bonds, then the bond prices would come down (and the yield rate would increase) which means all the rates pegged to the yield would go up -> which means that the interest rates can go up which can affect economic recovery (esp on the demand side).

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

The ADC as it is levied at present is the difference between the cost incurred by BSNL to provide fixed line services and the amount charged from the subscribers. Since the rentals and the call charges are below cost, the ADC which is imposed on the private operators, is meant to compensate BSNL for keeping the service affordable and incurring this extra expenditure. This component is incorporated in the overall interconnection charges that the private operators have to pay BSNL for linking up with its network for local, STD and ISD calls made by their subscribers. As a result, any decline in this component will give the private operators that much more flexibility to reduce rates, while BSNL will suffer a corresponding decline in revenues.

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) has recommended that fixed-line operators migrating to the unified licence regime should pay the difference between the licence fee paid by them and the fourth cellular operators.

If the government accepts this recommendation, fixed-line operators looking for an all-India presence will have to pay Rs 1,200 crore. This is because in the fourth round of bidding, GSM operators could get an all India licence for Rs 1,600-1,700 crore. Fixed-line operators paid Rs 495 crore for an all-India licence.

Trai made this suggestion to the Group of Ministers which was set up to resolve the telecom dispute between the CDMA limited mobile and GSM fully mobile operators.

Monday, October 27, 2003

Official statistics tend to understate the role played by IT outside America, because of differences in the way it is measured. American statistics count firms' spending on software as investment, so it contributes to GDP. In much of Europe and Japan, most of it is counted as a current business expense, and so excluded from final output.
Economist on oil cartel:- Some snippets.
"Such moves by Saudi Arabia may seem reassuring, but in fact they point to a cause for great concern: the real problem with the supply of oil is its concentration, not its scarcity. Fully 25% of the world's proven reserves of oil sit under the parched deserts of Saudi Arabia. Add in four of the kingdom's neighbours, and the share of the world's oil reserves held by Middle Eastern OPEC countries soars to about two-thirds. It is this immutable fact that gives the cartel, and especially the Saudis, all the aces in the energy game. Russia, by contrast, sits atop barely 5% of the world's reserves. (Iraq controls about 10%.) The Arctic reserves in Alaska, which are at the centre of so much controversy in America, are insignificant in comparison.

What is more, because the Middle Eastern suppliers are restraining their production in order to prop up prices, they are sure to have plenty of oil left when the non-OPEC countries start to run out of it. That is why official forecasts, such as those of the IEA, suggest that the market share held by countries in the Middle East—especially Saudi Arabia—can only increase over the next two decades.

All this shows that an approach that focuses on the supply of oil, such as that taken by President Bush, can do little to free the world economy from OPEC's grip. An approach that focuses on demand, however, might be a different story"
GK on luxury industry/fashion industry:
a. LVMH - 28.7 bn - Christian Dior Couture, Cognac Hennessy, Dom Pérignon, Givenchy and Donna Karan, Tag Heuer, Lious Vuiton,
b. Richemont - 9.8 - Cartier, Monteblanc, Baume&Mercier, Piaget, Dunhill
c. Gucci - 7.6bn - Yves Saint Laurent, Gucci, Stella Mccartney,
d. Swatch
e. Hermes
f. Burberry
h. Bulgari - 2.2 bn

Sunday, October 26, 2003

Boring day!!

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

MS, Vodafone - OMIP kind of product.
MS, Orange - Handsets
MS, Reliance - IPTV
Wireless carriers now take home nearly half of global voice revenues, up from 9% a decade ago
The question is: Do people buy phones like computers, where they expect to upgrade and change the product over a longer lifetime, or like consumer electronics, where the configuration is fixed and you simply buy a new model when you want to move up?

The fixed-line carriers have an ace in the hole: their wires. "The biggest factor in their favor, bar none, is that they still own the local network," says analyst James Eibisch of market researcher IDC. How is that an asset if the world is going wireless?
New Internet-type equipment costs as little as one-tenth as much as the older-style gear now used in the network
A decade ago, Massachusetts Institute of Technology pundit Nicholas Negroponte observed that it was an accident of technology history that phone calls are made mostly over wires while more complex television broadcasts travel over the air. The rise of wireless phones and cable TV has borne out Negroponte's prediction that the situation would flip-flop.

Thursday, October 16, 2003

Microsoft and Telecom - Isn't it tired?
Vodafone and MS have announced a joint mobile web services initiative(similar to OMIP) to take head on the industry's initiatives of OMA and Parlay X. From 2 yrs, MS is trying to make its windows powered smartphone and till date only Orange has release a smartphone on its OS. Also recently it announced a software for IPTV which would be tested by Reliance and Bellsouth. It is doing everything to make its visibility in the telecom world of carriers/equipment providers.

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

I drove vijay's new diesel indigo and here are some observations:
a) Overall the price came to 5.23 Lakhs and for that price it is a great deal.
b) The leg space in the front is really good and the back seaters can also be comfortable.
c) The body is good and i even liked the almost 90degree opening for the doors.
d) When you drive the same, you dont feel like you are driving a big car - 1. A slight noise probly because of diesel 2. Power when you initially start is less than that of a santro.
e) Looks great from the back. From the front, it is just like a indica. (probly they didn't want to risk the design). from the side, it has the looks of a sphinx - two cars merged into one. (so dont look at it from the side).
f) Great boot space - i have never seen such a big boot space.
So overall, they seem to play on the price rather than on features.
All truth passes through three stages.

First, it is ridiculed.

Second, it is violently opposed.

Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.

Economist has a very interesting article on the history of Telecom. Very interesting.
Wireless subscribers are more than fixed line subs now - 1.3 bn vs 1.2 bn. Internet subscribers are around 650mn currently. The article goes to say that enough money has been spent by overzealous operators on the pipe and now it is upto content to fill in these pipes. So it has 3 predictions for the future of telecom tech.
a) Mobile
b) Broadband
c) Enterprise.

Thursday, October 09, 2003

Interesting news on broadband debate (cable vs DSL - cable cos vs telcos)
In OECD countries, cable companies, rather than incumbent telecommunications carriers, have been the leaders in introducing broadband access services. This is especially true in countries like Korea, Canada, Belgium, Sweden, and Japan.

In 1999, 84 per cent of OECD broadband subscribers used cable modem services and 16 per cent used DSL. In 2000, the share held by cable modem users had slipped to 55 per cent with DSL users at 45 per cent. In 2002, DSL took the lead with 54 per cent, cable modems were at 41 per cent, and other platforms at 3 per cent. Across the OECD, DSL subscribers grew twice as fast as cable modem subscribers in the fourth quarter of 2002.

While telecommunications carriers in these countries did not lead the way to offering broadband access, they have often proven to be formidable competitors once they begin to offer digital subscriber lines (DSL) services.

Total of 55 million broadband subscribers in the world. (out of which 22 are in South Korea - partly because cable was also deregulated which was not the case in US).

Microsoft is also entering the telecom business by offering IP based TV software (media player) which can help telecom operators' sagging revenue. (this is developed along with reliance). Seemingly the HDTV transmission over IP is cheaper than the current cable TV which is transmitted over a separate video network with MPEG compression. So with this box( costing around 100$), it would be possible to move over to a single internet infrastructure. (cable cos maintain two networks - one for internet and one for video).

Wednesday, October 08, 2003

1.3 Billion mobile Users worldwide.
200 in china, 400 in europe, 400 in americas, Japan - 80and the rest. (In general ARPU have come down from the days of govt regulation from 50$ to roughly 35 now and that is why operators are a worried lot these days).
ARPU - 35$ per month - 400 per year => 400Billion revenues per year for the operators.
10% of it is data -> 40 billion.
P2P Messaging accounts for most of the mobile data - ?? exact numbers.
10% of it is corporate -> 40 billion
Mobile infrastructure investments = 10% - 40Billion
Mobile Solutions investment = 10% of data revenues typically -> 4-5 billion.
Out of this - 40% to service, 40% to enabling platforms and 20% to applications. Which means the market for applications is just 800 million. (from a vendor's perspective).
Philiphines has this highest data%age ARPU - around 35% comes from mob data. (is it the operator which has crush games). India - ARPU of 700 bucks.
CDMA - 15% GSM/GPRS/3G - 85%.
Number of 3G subscribers - 50 million (mainly cdma - 49 - South Korea - 22, Japan - 10 , US - 10). UMTS - only 1.4 million subs. ( 3 is thinking of around 1 million in one year - just to get an idea).

Applications - 3 categories - a) Basic Services - Gateways, Session controllers, Subscriber databases b) Enabling services - messaging, location, streaming, billing, content managment, content delivery, download, etc.. c)Apps - enterprise, entertainment - gaming, commn, chat etc, financial services, m-commerce, information search - currently pull to location.

Interesting fact - gaming business is as big as movie biz. 21 Billion compared to 19 billion from box-office takings. 450 million mobile phones sold every year ???? (i thot only 100 million were getting added as subscribers every year - replacement market - is it that huge - 3 times the normal market). 6% use gaming of 1.3billion - 80 million - great market. (may soon outstrip the ppl playing games on consoles). Roughly 3$ per game and some are subscribtion based.
How does Nokia's ngage compete with sony and nintendo? - mobility,voice( boundary of mobility and gaming - users can play network games with ppl miles away). (Nintendo is third behind Sony and MS).
Tech spending has shown signs of increasing, but at a much lower pace that it was before. (though hp, dell made optimistic noises, oracle,Sun on the negative). Giga suggests that tech spending would grow by 6% for the next 4 yrs. (11% in the boom time and 5% of GDP and now 4%).
a) Regret over over-spending during boomtime.
b) economy doldrums
c) long-term tech cycle - waves of 15 yrs. innovation leads to a burst of new tech and then a less exciting phase of consolidation/assimilation happens. Get tangible results out of the invested tech - now integration software, anti-virus, firewalls, outsourcing, linux would thrive. (basic funda - anything which can get the best out of my existing investments).
Modligliani died recently. I came to know of his "lifecycle hypothesis" recently. ”. In essence, this says that people save during their working lives in order to spend when their income wanes in old age. (obvious u said, but wasn't at that point of time as Keynes wrote in his “General Theory” that it was a “psychological law” that saving rose with income. and obviously according to keynes, economy is directly related to spending and saving was a vice ;-). before milton came in and brought in his zero inflation theory).
Article on Wharton Newsletter about Sun: (similar to one i had posted a few days back)
Sun is being attacked by low-cost m/cs by HP, IBM, and Dell. (The industry is moving to m/cs with more microprocessors, not necessarily powerful ones. ) Sun is good at making stable os's and cross-platform languages like Java. But the company is making the same mistake as Apple did - bundling so-so hardware with excellent software. So what should Sun do? Move away from "SPARC/K" processors and get into serious software business????
Seemingly cell cos in india have lost 10% in ARPU after making the incoming calls free. Partly due to the loss in revenues ( as the termination charge is now 25% of the revenues when incoming calls were charged). Also cell operators blame the expensive spectrum which is based on the number of subscribers and not on the number of minutes/airtime ppl talk.
Data: in the last 5 months, the talk time has gone up from 350 minutes to 700 minutes.

Tuesday, October 07, 2003

News today:
Nokia selling gaming handsets (in competition with Nintendo) - pricey (350$ in comparision of 90 of Gameboy). Games worth 20$ - but only 20 games available. Network economics has to come into play ;-). (telephone networks worked only after a critical mass was available).

BT(the fixed line operator) is selling Free-to-air TV settop boxes to counter the cable cos threat of internet, tv and phone. So convergence effect ;-)

Does family plans make sense? Does it bring down the average ARPU ?
Back after a long vacation at Goa. Goa is THE place for a laid back vacation - beaches, babes and beer. We (friends from KREC - had to convince quite a few about thier last bachelor vacation ;-) ) took 5 days off and travelled to Goa by a Tata Sumo. Please book your tickets in advance as you would have to do the same as we did. Seemingly, the best option would be to go to Mangalore by bus and reach Mlore the next day morning. Catch the Konkan railway early morning ( the view is gorgeous) and reach Goa in the afternoon. We decided at the last moment and had to be content with the Sumo. Also we booked our acco at Ronil Royale b4 we left blore.
Talking of Ronil Royale, it is right next to the baga beach/tetos and is a great value for money hotel. Also you get continental food which tastes exxxxcelent and to top it, the great service. Seriously speaking, hotels around the country should learn from the service in Goa. It is par excellence. (it is the same story everywhere in Goa).
The trip itself - if it is for the vacation, i wd suggest that u skip the temples and the churches. If time is a constraint, Baga, Dando, Vagator beaches are a must. Baga - for playing, Dando - for playing with less crowd around, and vagator for the view. Also make it a point to reach the beaches early morning for the first round of playing (around 6.30 - 9.30). They get really hot in the afternoon.
The forts - Chapora, Aguada are good for a evening sunset. The mayem lake is really good for a paddle boat ride in the evening. Visit the dona paulo in the late morning (11.00 am) types for the scooter and boat rides.
Then coming to the nights, it is really heaven for the boozards. Go anywhere and u will find booze. Fenny is cheaper than water - can u believe it?? Try out the bacardi breezer in all its flavors ( i am not sure whether u would get it in such quantity anywhere else). It is quite an innovation - tasty with the same alcohol content as beer.

The lowlights - no adventure sports as they are putting together some regulations for safety and insurance. Also the so called "cruise" was a letdown. Probly try out Santa Monica cruise - looked better atleast. Also we didn't try out the south goa beaches - especially valvo, miramar - probly not required as this was as good as it could have got. Another thing - dont ever try to go by a sumo if you r not driving or u r sure about the driver.

Thursday, September 25, 2003

Motorola chief Gavin resigned last week. The mobile phone business which contributes to 40% of its business is losing steadily to Nokia. Siemens and Motorola held talks few months back to swap the infra and handset business. But gavin was too emotionally attached to its networks business. Now with this news, will the deal come through?
A good story as usual on the economist abut MS banning chatrooms.

a) Microsoft is using "corporate citizenship" to make its MSN business profitable. It now requires users of chatrooms to be subscribers of MSN so that they can be tracked.
b) Is it against the fundamental premise on which the internet thrived - Openness and anonymity?

Tuesday, September 23, 2003

Recently, news is coming that hedge funds are coming to India.
What are hedge funds?
It is similar to a hedge funds, but unlike mutual funds, they take both short and long postions in equity so that beta is close to zero. (Say buy Reliance and sell Mahindra). Now if reliance goes up by 10% and m&m/market goes up by 7%, then overall they make 3%. (they try to reduce market risk, but bank on stock specific returns). But a mutual fund would have made 10% if it invested in reliance alone but would have significantly higher risk. Another difference is that they also leverage ( take say 10millon from investors and 5 million debt) and get more as the capital would be more.

But a mutual fund also i suppose hedges via a different strategy. Say going for say put options on the sensex and a bet on a specific stock. Isnt it? (Or is it only the stocks). Or probably, since hedge funds are more international, it doesn't have so much pressure to outperform??? Also, recently i read that fund of funds is also getting popular in the US. (A fund of funds is nothing but a fund/portfolio of hedge funds!!!).

Some fundas i have learnt the hard way on the stock market:

a) Please Please dont invest in non-profit making companies.
b) I have found P/E to be a good indicator for investing. Other investing variables - NP, Dividend Payout, Previous Quarter Earnings, P/E of industry, Any recent news, Current Fancy of the stock market, Sales Margin.
c) Book profits. Book Profits. Book Profits at each opportunity. Have a rule ( say i book 25% profits when the share price increases 25% or whatever), and book profits. Cash profits are real ;-). I can quote my own case wherin we had a portfolio of 10 stocks (3 months back) for an investment of X Rs. It actually went up to almost 1.75 X, but we booked profits at 1.4X. I may be ruing the fact that i could have got 1.75X, but now the value is 0.75X. So the moral of the story - book profits at every possible interval.
( I will update this whenever i go wrong, right or whatever!)
My first experiences with open source software:
a) Checkstyle - a code convention checker for Java.
The setting up of the command line tool is a bit non-user friendly but probably this is the case with any non-proprietary tool ;-). One major observation is the number of plugins written by open-source enthusiasts to integrate the same into any IDE (Idea or JBuilder) which makes the setup a one-time activity. Coming to the real power of Checkstyle, it is its customization to write new rules. (For example, adding a rule to check the number of methods in a class). So it gives the ultimate freedom if somebody wants to get more power from the basic framework which is where time should be spent for delivering more customized benefits.

b) OpenOffice - Office suite
Breathtaking is the word. It is just amazing how an open source project can deliver just a good product. You have to see it to believe it. (come to think of it that i haven't even had a deeper look into many of its features). . The features are more less comparable to Microsoft's and the UI is also good. It has few features like saving to pdf which is a real value addition. It can open any known, popular format (staroffice, MSoffice) and save them too. Also, it can save the same in xml formats which can deliver real value to some applications (which can use these formats to read, write or do whatever) and one doesn't have to bother about licensing.
The linux threat (or i would say opportunity) is getting more real and real. Recent events/reasons/indications:
a) IBM, HP, Sun throwing their weight behind linux. Sun recently announced the "Java desktop system" on Linux??
b) Telecom vendors also thinking of using linux (moving from sun solaris machines. Even i have seen a big sun machine for one of our Intelligent Networks Servers ;-)). IBM has offered a carrier grade linux solution of late which brings down the cost significantly.
c) eLinux on even embedded systems is gaining popularity. Motorola is bringing out its handsets on the linux os and Java.
d) Currently, i think there is a strong "anti-incumbancy" factor running against microsoft. (the strongest so far). Coupled with it , the security threats et al. So IBM would like to make the OS a commodity and thereby crush Microsoft. It suits IBM fine as it is moving to a "service" strategy with all its utility computing fundas etc...

The opportunity - Enterprise software is really really pricey. ( like ERP/BI/SCM etc..). Is the time ripe for a linux based java enterprise service on intel chipset!!! Also Sun when it released its Java desktop system has hinted that the enterprise software is just too overpriced. So.............?????