Pizza Hut vs. My Dhaba

These are the two most common places from where I order food and I like both of them. However, I noticed the huge difference in the time taken to order stuff from these places. To be fair to both, I never get into any long discussions during ordering. It is always a fixed directive order and that will be all kind of message. For pizza hut, it used to be less than a minute but now it has gone somewhere close to 2 minutes with all the questions and promotions thrown in. And for my dhaba, I timed it and found out that it took an incredible 6 seconds!

the social network: Retribution of the geek?

This is not a movie review because I am not sure how I felt about "the social network" as a movie. It in fact didn't seem a lot like movie to me. While watching it, I was reminded of the documentary "The pirates of silicon valley" and a book I read on Steve Jobs (iCon). I always thought Steve Jobs as the (relatively) non technical guy (Wozniak being the tech muscle) who by virtue of his other qualities got to run the company as his own. I am talking of the beginnings and not about his eventual departure before he was called back again. Facebook had the tech guy holding the reins whereas the business guy was sidelined neatly though with help from dubious avenues. So, it seems, the tables are turned for better or worse.

A little more clarification on Jobs vs. the business guy comparison. Honestly there is none. I think Jobs was way too hands on to be compared with Saverin who in all earnestness said he didn't know how to change his relationship status. Also, Jobs has far redeemed his image in last decade or so and needs no more justification to his value add.

Now, I don't intend to pass any judgment on any of the guys as I am a believer in Karma and I think "over a period of time" you will get what you deserve. I don't deny the presence of outliers to this rule, but like I have many times said earlier, if you are out of luck, you are just fucked. So no rules apply to you any more.

One thing is for sure, the aura of Mark Z will grow enormously with the movie, possibly an almost facebook-like expansion. It might actually give a big boost to the eventual IPO if it happens soon. On that front, I am of the opinion that they should do that within next one year. With the rapidly changing world of internet, it doesn't take a lot of time for things to go downhill and faster will the reaction of investors who tend to anticipate these things. It is the time that they en-cash their "equity" literally. It is already valued at $25b and I am not sure if their growth trajectory is steep enough to make the risk worth it. I can come back a year later and check on how my analysis fared. I have a terrible record at it, but thankfully most of it is undocumented.

I love reality

(relatively long post)

As promised earlier, I am going to talk about my fascination with trashy reality shows. I will start with my lack of fascination for reality shows dealing with talent. I tried watching KBC, but failed to continue for long because I thought I was trying to see a quiz show. However, KBC tries and is actually a lot more than that. It is supposed to be about thrills, emotions, travails and what not. I get a feeling that most of the folks who watch it, don't even care about the question, except whether the contestant got it right or wrong. Whether the contestant, who is  a farmer, looking to repay his loan with the 25 lac he might win, will win or not. That's the start of my disconnect with talent based reality shows. Whenever I watch them, I end up watching for the talent part, but realize there is way too much dilution of the talent part due to emotions, drama and all the circus around. It just seems too much for me to look at these disparate aspects.

I would like to focus on a few things at a time rather than looking at too many things superficially. Most of the reality shows try to cover so many dimensions that they lose my interest. In fact, more than the talent, most of them focus on drama. All they want to show is drama, a peak into how people behave in different situations. The key is situations. They amplify and accelerate their reactions by virtue of making the stakes higher and platform bigger. To enable that, they need a backdrop, 3 months of house arrest, or a life in wild.

My point is, why dilute the backdrop by having a talent layer in it. If I watch a talent show, I would like the most talented one to win and not someone else for reasons other than his/her talent. And I am not sure if that always happens. So, if we are in for drama, then let there be drama, totally undiluted.

In talent less reality show, the winner like in real life doesn't have to be the best one. It is a combination of chance, talent, personality and so many other factors contributing in equal measures. It is so damn uncertain, just like real life. The two reality shows that came closest to achieve total undiluted life like simulation were "iss jungle se mujhe bachao" and big boss. Jungle.. not so much because winning a task also played its part in elimination unlike big boss which is totally unadulterated. The show also works at creating those situations, but a lot of times that isn’t even required.

The trashy part of every one's behavior goes on to show what Joker said and I always believed (the cynic in me :)). It couldn't have been put better, so reproducing his quote here verbatim:

Don’t talk like one of them, you’re not! Even if you’d like to be. To them, you’re just a freak–like me. They need you right now. When they don’t…they’ll cast you out. Like a leper. See, their morals, their code: it’s a bad joke. They’re dropped at the first sign of trouble. They’re only as good as the world allows them to be. You’ll see, when the chips are down these civilized people will eat each other

This may be true of each one of us yet we don't see enough of this simply because life is kind. And a lot of people pretty much go through all the life without many situations that threaten to tear off their mask. Reality TV does everything in its capacity to force that mask off.

I have been an avid follower of reality TV, but it seems even from my standards it has gone to new levels of depravity and somehow what Rakhi Sawant does in front of camera has a very direct correlation to it. She is the sensex of deparvity of reality TV in India. Fresh off the press is the death of a poor guy who came looking for justice (really? Dear justice seeker, I think your destiny was decided the moment you thought of this) in Rakhi's show where she plays judge and doles out verdicts like "arre tum to namarad ho" (Translation: you are impotent).

One other show which I found repulsive was Emotional Atyachar which I couldn't see more than one episode. Looking at the trend, not sure how long will I be able to enjoy these shows. But till the point I can, I am eagerly waiting for Pamela Anderson to enter the Bigg Boss house :)

Planning, Improvisation and A bit of Luck

Having labeled myself a life long planner, I believe in the credo - "Failing to plan is planning to fail". A lot of people actually think it's better to not plan at all than plan and fail. I don't agree and I would like to clarify why. Doing something well is not a function of just your planning, a lot comes after that, but I consider it as the first and perhaps the most important step. So, here is what I define as different steps to accomplishment big or small.

Planning: Let's start by clarifying the misconception about planning. You plan with the understanding that your plan may (make it will) fail. When planning you think about the objective and what it will take to reach it. However, you just don't get too hung up on it. Having planned through things, you will have a better idea of what you are going to do and what will help. In any case, have a plan B if you can else look at the next step in the process.

Improvisation: Getting too rigid about the plan is going to hurt you, may be more than not having a plan at all. This may well be the reason a lot of times no planning is better. However, if you can be open about changing your actions if things don't get your way, rest assured you will improvise better. Having thought through things you will be better at deciding the change in course than a totally unplanned person. Having said that, a lot of times with the first two steps going absolutely right, people tend to fail and that brings us to the third and the most important part.

Luck: Luck alone doesn't guarantee anything, but if you are out of luck, to put it mildly, you are screwed

Spectacular beginning of an exceptional end

Harry Potter is back, with an added dimension in more ways than one. Even without seeing it, I am pretty sure it is going to be excellent. It is hard to go wrong with the script.

Here is the trailer