Saturday, July 23

Thank you cards

We got couple of cards from couple of Hospitals.

 photo 1

photo 2

This is from St Mary’s Hospital Children’s Ward.




This one is from Whittington Hospital.

How nice of them to acknowledge the donations we give to these brave and wonderful kids.

Put up the price and demand drops

Pretty straightforward, eh? When the price of petrol goes up, one starts to drive less. And for governments who end up taxing everything that moves, they end up getting lower amounts of revenue. Laffer Curve. Welcome. Well, even I, who drives very rarely, have found this behaviour. So its good to see the results here. I quote:

The government has lost almost £650m in tax revenue in the first 12 weeks of this year thanks to a drop in the amount of petrol and diesel being used by British motorists compared with the same period three years ago, according to the AA.

And this isnt going to change, the government will keep on increasing or at least not decreasing the level of taxation. The voracious monster that is the damn government and public sector will inexorably keep on increasing its level of parasitic blood sucking. When will they understand that this is frankly not sustainable?

I am actually fully cognisant of the train crash in the USA in terms of the debt ceiling and the repercussions on the economy if the debt ceiling isn't raised. But sod it, somebody has to draw the line somewhere. You simply cannot keep on spending and asking my daughter to pay for you. No thank you, you have to take the pain today, reduce spending and reduce your life style.

Friday, July 22

Are You Wasting Time on Poor Performers?

This was an interesting article from the CFO. Basically the argument is that people who spend more time and capital on poorly performing units do not return shareholder value. They should instead be concentrating on the higher performing units to increase value.

There is much in this argument and the argument extends to people as well. If you want to have a high performance team, then you have to bring everybody up to speed, but then some will never do it. I once had a chat with a colleague from another bank who was describing what they did to their people. They divided their people into 4 quartiles based upon performance. The first quartile, they encouraged, the second quartile they spend most time by coaching etc. etc. , the third quartile they pushed and the fourth quartile they exited. One has to be brutal about this, the more time you spend on the fourth quartile, the more waste of time, money, energy and resources there is. They will never give you the increase in productivity, revenue, sales, performance that the investment in the top two quartiles will.

But we persist in an annoying and childish behaviour in trying to invest time in the bottom quartile. They might be in the wrong job, they might be dead wood, they might be whatever but at end of the day, you are carrying around deadweight. So do them and yourself a favour and exit them or the business.

The same behaviour is also observed in people who invest in stocks. Why do people keep on keeping dogs in their portfolio well after it has been proven that those dogs are really dogs? Take your loss and get out.

Thursday, July 21

My position on Whiskey

I rather like scotch, single malt at that. Many people have asked me to explain why and its usually a stumbling bumbling explanation till I found this. Excellent explanation:

In 1952, Armon M. Sweat, Jr., a member of the Texas House of Representatives, was asked about his position on whiskey. What follows is his exact answer (taken from the Political Archives of Texas):

"If you mean whiskey, the devil's brew, the poison scourge, the bloody monster that defiles innocence, dethrones reason, destroys the home, creates misery and poverty, yea, literally takes the bread from the mouths of little children; if you mean that evil drink that topples Christian men and women from the pinnacles of righteous and gracious living into the bottomless pit of degradation, shame, despair, helplessness, and hopelessness, then, my friend, I am opposed to it with every fiber of my being.

However, if by whiskey you mean the oil of conversation, the philosophic wine, the elixir of life, the ale that is consumed when good fellows get together, that puts a song in their hearts and the warm glow of contentment in their eyes; if you mean Christmas cheer, the stimulating sip that puts a little spring in the step of an elderly gentleman on a frosty morning; if you mean that drink that enables man to magnify his joy, and to forget life's great tragedies and heartbreaks and sorrow; if you mean that drink the sale of which pours into Texas treasuries untold millions of dollars each year, that provides tender care for our little crippled children, our blind, our deaf, our dumb, our pitifully aged and infirm, to build the finest highways, hospitals, universities, and community colleges in this nation, then my friend, I am absolutely, unequivocally in favor of it.

This is my position, and as always, I refuse to compromise on matters of principle."

What a man!

Tuesday, July 19

The space between the words

This is so fascinating. I didnt know what was the background to the spaces between words till I read this post. I quote from the wiki entry:

Scriptio continua ("Continuous script" in Latin; also scriptura continua) is a style of writing without spaces or other marks between words or sentences. In the West, the oldest Greek and Latin inscriptions use word dividers, but these are rare in the later periods when scriptio continua becomes the norm (in Classical Greek and late Classical Latin). [1][2] By around 1000 AD, alphabetical texts in Europe are written with spaces between words. Scriptio continua is still in use in Thai, other Southeast Asian abugidas, and in languages that use Chinese characters (Chinese and Japanese) though with sentence breaks. Modern Chinese differs from ancient scriptio continua in that it does at least use punctuation, although this was borrowed from the West only about a century ago. Before this, the only forms of punctuation found in Chinese writings were punctuations to denote quotes, proper nouns, and emphasis.

Before the advent of the codex (book), Latin and Greek script was written on scrolls. Reading continuous script on a scroll was more akin to reading a musical score than reading text. The reader would typically already have memorized the text through an instructor, had memorized where the breaks were, and the reader almost always read aloud, usually to an audience in a kind of reading performance, using the text as a cue sheet. Organizing the text to make it more rapidly ingested (through punctuation) was not needed and eventually the current system of rapid silent reading for information replaced the older slower performance declaimed aloud for dramatic effect

I was recently in Salisbury and saw the copy of the Magna Carta at the Salisbury Cathedral. Here’s what it looks like. But this has spaces between words.

But here’s an example of a much older book, the codex suprasliensis. No gaps there.

Nor in here, the Codex Alexandrinus

Mind you, the Dead Sea Scrolls were ok with spaces.

Got to be language specific. Here’s an old old Sanskrit MS dating back to the 11thc.

no spaces there either. Fascinating stuff.

Monday, July 18

India abandons quest for permanent UN Security Council seat



I agree, what’s the big deal about having a permanent council seat? What exactly would be the benefits to India? In terms of well being or happiness or security of its people that the other things ranging from trade policy to economic liberalisation or industrial growth or its nuclear arms? On the other hand, having a damn permanent council seat means that you keep on having to be in the bad books of many people and keep on coming under pressure. And then you have to spend money on silly things. Useless.

Sunday, July 17

banging on about executive jets

This article in this week’s economist was interesting. People keep on moaning about them, apparently they are horrible. Here’s the image from the economist

This is what the blurb says:

THE corporate jet gets a lousy press. In the James Bond classic, “Goldfinger”, the eponymous villain is sucked out of the window of just such an aircraft. In 2008 the bosses of Detroit’s moribund car companies did themselves no favours when they flew in their gleaming jets to Washington, DC, to beg Congress for bail-outs (they drove the next time). And in his present face-off with the Republicans over the federal debt ceiling, Barack Obama is bashing the jets again, because to the man in the street the corporate jet is a perfect proxy for a fat cat. “I’ve said to Republican leaders, you go talk to your constituents and ask them, ‘Are you willing to compromise your kids’ safety so some corporate-jet owner can get a tax break?’.”

Needless to say, Mr Obama is now accused by the aircraft manufacturers of scapegoating a successful industry that employs more than a million Americans and by the Republicans of launching a populist “class war”.

And then I saw this:

heh, touche’


I realise that I haven't updated this blog for a long long time. So what’s been happening?


The IT4CH charity is trundling along fine. We are currently looking for a deputy to the CEO as well as some volunteers who can assist in getting more equipment into the warehouses that we have got scattered around the country. I think we found one person but she had to unfortunately duck out as she has to move away. Drats.

We met up with the head of SIFE in Nottingham and he has promised to work with us to see if we can improve the quality of computers we get, increase the number of donations we get, get some properties that we can store them in and also to see if we can enhance the training opportunities. Good start anyway. If this works out, then we can think about rolling this out nationally to other SIFE chapters who might be of assistance.

The Transformation Trust.

I met with Nicky Old, a very inspiring lady from The Transformation Trust. She got introduced to me via our mutual friend, Annie Natarajan. Nicky invited me earlier to the BT Tower where I took loads of pics. The Transformation Trust is doing a fantastic job with hundreds of schools around the country but they wanted to do something which can improve financial literacy amongst the schools. I immediately thought about seeing if we can use the Trading Game from LSE SIFE for this.

So anyway, that meeting happened between the Transformation Trust, LSE and SIFE and good steps were agreed. We have decided to check out the trading game to the London based schools that the Transformation Trust has links with. Then we can think about rolling this out. I fully expect that we will be able to touch 40-50 schools, which means about 2000 students at the minimum will be trained up on markets, how to trade, understand finance and economics, understand how to go to college and study, savings and investments. All in all, a very good step. Fairly chuffed with this step. If need be, i can help arrange for the presentations and discussions at work.

Home Start Hillingdon

We had a bit of a strategy session where a bit of head banging went on about how to do the funding over the next 3 years. Quite an interesting challenge we have here, to improve the position of the charity to cover for the funding gaps which have arisen due to the reduction of public sector funding. So I have been trying to get hold of various bits and bobs, like getting a friend of mine to agree to sponsor a web shop, need to figure out a way to get some funding to train our families / volunteers to create stuff so that we can sell, get some more sponsorship monies from people who might be willing to run / bike to raise some dosh. Got a whole list of tertiary items in track. So lets see how that works out. Its a long way to go and the funding cuts dont help at all.


Had a nice session with the MBS chaps who popped over to work and i arranged to have 4 other MBS alumni who work in the bank to speak to a bunch of new chaps. Also got one of our MD’s to speak to them about life in general, she was brilliant, people loved her. We were also going to have another session with mentors and mentees but that fell through unfortunately. Oh! well.

I don't know if I talked about this or not but popped up to Colchester to talk about transformation to a bunch of public sector and SME owners. Am also going to do an introduction to their new MBA entries at the bank and also another talk in September to Essex alumni.


Couple of the mentees are trundling along. One lady got a new job, its not as good, but its a job, so now she can carry on the search for a new one. Another lady wants to get a better job so will introduce her to couple of my contacts in the information security world. I got some good contacts out of a dinner I attended at a CIO forum recently on identify and access control. So things are moving on.